Response of Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida) to changing environmental conditions
Heare, Jake Emerson
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The Olympia oyster is an iconic oyster species in the Pacific Northwest with special significance in Puget Sound, WA. Oyster populations in the region were decimated to historic lows during the 20th century due to a number of factors including overharvest, habitat loss, and invasive species. Restoration projects have seen limited success, likely due to the limited information on stock structure within Puget Sound, especially in regards to adaptive abilities and habitat suitability. Chapter one of this study investigates population related fitness measures (ie. mortality, growth, reproduction) within three resident populations from geographically isolated locations in Puget Sound. Using a reciprocal transplant experiment with Ostrea lurida populations from Fidalgo Bay, Dabob Bay, and Oyster Bay, we found that two of the three populations (Dabob Bay and Oyster Bay) express significant phenotypic signatures related to the population. Using this information we offer restoration strategies catered to population phenotypes in an effort to improve restoration projects in the Puget Sound. In Chapter two, we ran a thermal and mechanical stress experiment due to differences in mortality between populations observed in Chapter 1 to investigate expression of genes (via qPCR) related to survival. We found differences in expression related to gene transcription, which indicates possible phenotypic plasticity previously unknown in the study populations though further investigation is required.
- Fisheries