American oyster -- Florida, Introduced aquatic organisms -- Florida, Mussels -- Florida, Reefs -- Florida
Predicting the locations of new biological invasions has become a high priority for biologists as well as trying to predict if newly introduced species will become damaging to native ecosystems. Reefs of the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida have been highly disturbed in recent years resulting in dead reefs (piles of dead, disarticulated shells) some of which have been restored. I conducted oyster reef surveys for non-native invertebrates to determine if disturbance on these oyster reefs might assist invasion by two species, Mytella charruana and Perna viridis, recently introduced to the southeastern coast of the United States. Next, I investigated if M. charruana's temperature and aerial exposure tolerance limits may allow for it to establish permanently on intertidal oyster reefs. Temperature and aerial exposure tolerance experiments were conducted and oyster reef temperatures were collected. Oyster reef surveys could not predict if reef disturbance is assisting in the invasion process because only two non-native individuals (P.viridis) were found, one on a restored reef and one on a natural (reference) reef. Tolerance experiments showed that some Mytella charruana survived even after 7 days of 8??C temperatures if the mussels are exposed to air for 4 hours or less per day. Mytella charruana had near 0% survival after 4 hours of 44??C. However, only disturbed reefs reached this temperature in the field. It is likely that M. charruana could survive in the low intertidal zone on restored or reference reefs. This information is important for understanding the introduction of M. charruana in Mosquito Lagoon and also provides a data set of temperature tolerances for better understanding of whether the species might be able to invade other areas.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Nash, Ethan Fletcher, "Understanding The Invasion Of Florida's Intertidal Crassostrea Virginica Reefs By Non-native Marine Invertebrate Species" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2089.