• Environmental factors associated with invasion: modeling occurrence data from a coordinated sampling programme for Pacific oysters

      Kochmann, J.; O’Beirn, F.X.; Yearsley, J.; Crowe, T.P. (Springer Netherlands, 2013)
      Documenting establishment and spread of invasive species requires extensive co-ordinated sampling programmes. Identifying the factors promoting or inhibiting local establishment of an invasive species can improve capacity to predict further spread and underpin strategies to limit spread. Here, a structured sampling programme was used to assess the current distribution of feral populations of Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas, in Ireland. Sixty-nine sites were sampled using a standardised protocol combining semi-quantitative and quantitative approaches. Sites were chosen to represent variation in proximity to aquaculture and a range of environmental variables. Oyster populations were found at 18 locations, with densities ranging from single individuals to nine individuals per m2. The broad size range of oysters found is indicative of more than one recruitment event. Logistic regression indicated that feral oysters were positively associated with the presence of hard substrata or biogenic reef, long residence times of embayments and large intertidal areas. There was also a tendency for oysters to occur disproportionately in bays with aquaculture, but >500 m from it. Small-scale analysis within sites showed that oysters were almost exclusively attached to hard substrata and mussel shell. The approach taken here provides a rigorous repeatable methodology for future monitoring and a detailed basis for the prediction of further spread.
    • Growth and survival of Spisula solidissima similis larvae fed different rations of Tahitian strain Isochrysis species

      Hurley, D.H.; Walker, R.L.; O'Beirn, F.X. (National Shellfisheries Association, 1997)
      Laboratory-spawned veliger-stage larvae of the southern Atlantic surfclam, Spisula solidissima similis (Say 1822), were reared to late pediveliger stage on five different cell concentrations of Tahitian strain Isochrysis species (T-Iso) to determine an optimal food ration for this subspecies. Larvae were fed daily 0, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, or 300,000 cells/mL of T-Iso. Day-old veliger larvae were stocked in 150 (1-L) replicate flasks at mean densities of 0.7 or 0.8 larvae/mL for trials A and B, respectively. Larval growth and survival were assessed every 2 days over the 14-day trial penods. Significantly greater growth and survival of larvae occurred in both trials in the lower food rations of 50,000 and 100,000 cells/mL. A reduction in larval growth rate and survival was observed at the higher ration treatments. A decline in overall larval health may be associated with the deliterious effects of surplus ration degradation.
    • Organisms associated with oysters cultured in floating systems in Virginia, USA

      O'Beirn, F.X.; Ross, P.G.; Luckenbach, M.W. (National Shellfisheries Association, 2004)
      The number and abundance of macro-fauna! taxa was estimated from six floating structures (floats) used to culture the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) near Chincoteague Island, Virginia, USA. After a 10-mo grow-out period, all organisms found among and attached to the cultured oysters were counted. The final mean size of oysters was 80.5 (14.7 SD) mm. Overall, 45 species of macrofauna were recorded with the number of species in the floats ranging from 24 to 36. There was no relationship between the number of taxa and the density of oysters in the floats. Total abundances of associated organisms were estimated at 12,746/float to 92,602/float. These findings highlight the diverse (taxonomic and trophic) and abundant nature of communities associated with cultured oysters. They also provide a baseline set of information that may help more clearly define the interactions between oyster culture and the environment.