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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:DOWNEAST INSTITUTE FOR APPLIED MARINE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION, INC.
Doing Business As Name:Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education
PD/PI:
  • Philip O Yund
  • (207) 712-6085
  • pyund@downeastinstitute.org
Award Date:07/11/2013
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 394,730
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 394,730
  • FY 2013=$394,730
Start Date:09/01/2013
End Date:08/31/2018
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: An integrated theoretical and empirical approach to across-shelf mixing and connectivity of mussel populations
Federal Award ID Number:1333755
DUNS ID:164918307
Program:BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY
Program Officer:
  • Michael Sieracki
  • (703) 292-7585
  • msierack@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:37 Wildflower Lane
City:Beals
State:ME
ZIP:04611-0083
County:Beals
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education
Street:39 Wildflower Lane
City:Beals
State:ME
ZIP:04611-0083
County:Beals
Country:US
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

Existing larval transport models focus mainly on along-shelf transport and have done little to explicitly incorporate the effects of cross-shelf mixing and transport processes. Yet cross-shelf transits (both outgoing and incoming legs) are critical components of the dispersal paths of coastal invertebrates. This project will explore the role of cross-shelf mixing in the connectivity of blue mussel populations in eastern Maine. Previous work has shown that the Eastern Maine Coastal Current (EMCC) begins to diverge from shore southwest of the Grand Manan Channel and creates a gradient in cross-shelf mixing and larval transport, with cross-shelf mixing being more common on the northeastern end, episodic in the transitional middle area, and then becoming rare in the southwestern half of the region of the Gulf of Maine. As a result, the investigators predict that northeastern populations of mussels are seeded mostly from up-stream sources, while a significant component of self-seeding (local retention) exists in southwestern populations. Larvae settling in the intervening bays are expected to be derived from a mixture of local and up-stream sources. Using a combined empirical and theoretical approach hydrographic, current profile, and larval vertical migration data will be collected and used to develop and validate a high-resolution coastal circulation model coupled to a model of larval behavior. The investigators will model simulations in different years using the empirical data from mussel reproductive output and spawning times. Connectivity predicted from this model will be then tested against independent empirical estimates of connectivity based on trace element fingerprinting for larvae which can be connected to specific natal habitats. Regions of agreement and discrepancy in the model will be identified to guide additional data collection and model refinement. This iterative process will ensure an understanding of both larval transport patterns and processes, and provide estimates of inter-annual variability in connectivity for blue mussel populations in the Gulf of Maine. The project will provide interdisciplinary training for a number of undergraduate and graduate students. All three investigators have established track records of training students at either the undergraduate or graduate level, or both. Inter-institutional and interdisciplinary exchange will be fostered by a twice per year mini-symposium/retreat at which all project participants from the three laboratories will present and discuss results from their portions of the project. This project also has important implications for the commercial mussel aquaculture industry in Maine, which relies heavily on natural settlement and desires a better understanding of larval supply patterns to facilitate site selection for collecting newly settled spat.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Yund, P.O., Collins, C., and S.L. Johnson "Evidence of a native Northwest Atlantic COI haplotype clade in the cryptogenic colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri" Biol. Bull., v.228, 2015, p.201.

Conlon, L., H. Xue, Morello, S., and P.O. Yund. "Nearshore flow patterns in a complex, tidally driven system in summer: Part I. Model validation and circulation." JGR Oceans, v.123, 2018, p.2401. doi:10.1002/2017JC013331 

Yund, P.O., and M.A. McCartney "Family effects on the growth and survival of congeneric blue mussel larvae (Mytilus edulis and M. trossulus)" Mar. Biol., v.163, 2016, p.76. doi:10.1007/s00227-016-2851-9 

Weinstock, J.B., Morello, S.L., Conlon, L.M. Xue, H., and P.O. Yund. "Tidal shifts in the vertical distribution of bivalve larvae: The role of physical processes vs. active behavior." Limnol. & Ocean., v.63, 2018, p.2681. doi:10.1002/lno.10968 

Morello, S.L., and P.O. Yund "Response of competent blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) larvae to positive and negative settlement cues" J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., v.480, 2016, p.8. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2016.03.019 

Yund, P.O., Tilburg, C.E., and M.A. McCartney "Across-shelf distribution of blue mussel larvae in the northern Gulf of Maine: Consequences for population connectivity and a species range boundary" Roy. Soc. Open Sci., v.2, 2015, p.150513. doi:10.1098/rsos.150513 

Morello, S.L., and P.O. Yund. "Response of competent blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) larvae to positive and negative settlement cues." J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., v.480, 2016, p.8. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2016.03.019 

Bloodsworth, K.H., Tilburg, C.E., and P.O. Yund. "Influence of a river plume on the distribution of Brachyuran crab and mytilid bivalve larvae in Saco Bay, Maine." Estuaries & Coasts, v.38:, 2015, p.1951. doi:10.1007/s12237-015-9951-5 

Yund, P.O., Tilburg, C.E., and M.A. McCartney. "Across-shelf distribution of blue mussel larvae in the northern Gulf of Maine: Consequences for population connectivity and a species range boundary." Roy. Soc. Open Sci., v.2, 2015, p.150513. doi:10.1098/rsos.150513 

Bloodsworth, K.H., Tilburg, C.E., and P.O. Yund "Influence of a river plume on the distribution of Brachyuran crab and mytilid bivalve larvae in Saco Bay, Maine." Estuaries & Coasts, v.38, 2015, p.1951. doi:10.1098/rsos.140429 

Phillippi, A.L., and P.O. Yund. "Self-fertilization and inbreeding depression in three ascidian species that differ in genetic dispersal potential." Marine Biology, v.164, 2017, p.179. doi:10.1007/ s00227-017-3214-x 

Yund, P.O., Collins, C., and S.L. Johnson. "Evidence of a native Northwest Atlantic COI haplotype clade in the cryptogenic colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri." Biol. Bull., v.228:, 2015, p.201.

Yund, P.O., and M.A. McCartney. "Family effects on the growth and survival of congeneric blue mussel larvae (Mytilus edulis and M. trossulus)." Marine Biology, v.163, 2016, p.76. doi:10.1007/s00227-016-2851-9 


Project Outcomes Report

Disclaimer

This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

Most sessile marine animals have a larval stage that can potentially disperse long distances.  Consequently, animals harvested in one spot may have been born in a completely different location, and understanding how and where they moved is critical for managing harvested species and deciding how to position marine reserves.  Our project evaluated larval dispersal in commercially-harvested blue mussels in eastern Maine, where a strong coastal current is located offshore of a very complex coastline, with deep bays separated by rocky headlands and islands.  Because mussels live up in the bays, the dispersal of mussel larvae up and down the bays and in and out of the coastal current plays an important role in determining dispersal patterns.  We used a coupled biological/physical model to predict mussel dispersal patterns.  This model was based on a very high-resolution coastal circulation model (the physical component) which we tested with field-collected current data.  The model was very accurate at predicting observed currents.  This physical model was then coupled with a biological model of larval mussel growth, mortality, and behavior.  The growth and mortality parts of the model were based on laboratory experiments in which we reared larvae at different temperatures, while the behavior component was based on field observation of the vertical movement of mussel larvae.  Contrary to some past reports, we discovered that mussel larvae migrate vertically on a day/night cycle, but do not migrate vertically on the flood/ebb tidal cycle.  They do move vertically on the tide cycle, but this movement is passive and driven by currents, and thus does not represent a behavior that needs to be modeled.

The coupled biophysical model predicted that most larval dispersal occurs among mussel beds within a bay, or between neighboring bays.  Successful dispersal over longer distances did occur, but much more rarely.  Dispersal was mostly from northeast to southwest (in the direction of the coastal current), but localized northeastward dispersal against the prevailing current was possible because flooding tides can move the larvae between bays within one tidal cycle.  Tides were the main process moving larvae between the bays and the coastal current, while the physical structure of the bottom largely dictated where these across-shelf movements occurred.  Wind appeared to play surprisingly little role in moving larvae up and down bays, but that result is partly because wind direction did not vary much.  This region is known as "downeast" Maine because the wind blows very consistently from the southwest.

We engaged with mussel harvesters and managers (the Maine state Dept. of Marine Resources) to share data and results.  Mussel harvesting has traditionally been largely unregulated in Maine, but market pressures driven by the need to document that the harvest is sustainable are pushing the industry toward greater regulation.  The state has only recently begun monitoring this resource, and their efforts to date have been limited to one bed.  We were able to supply preliminary data on 14 other beds over a 4 year time span.  Those data had originally been collected to support our modeling efforts (we needed to know how many larvae each bed produced, which is determined by the number of mussels and how large they are), but served as a preliminary stock assessment. 

We also trained two post-docs and eight undergraduate research assistants.  One of the undergraduates worked on the project two summers and developed an independent project that was recently published in a major journal; she is currently applying to PhD program.  One post-doc now has a permanent job in industry, and the other has a Knauss fellowship from NOAA to work with the federal legislature for a year.


Last Modified: 12/11/2018
Modified by: Philip O Yund

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