DV-11-06 Mitigating invasive ascidian impacts on Maine’s shellfish aquaculture industry

Felipe Paredes
School of Marine Sciences
217 Libby
Orono, ME 04469

Fouling of boat hulls, fishing gear, and marine infrastructure by aquatic organisms has always been a challenge for humans seeking to make a living on the water. Today, non-native species can aggressively cover underwater surfaces of aquaculture gear such as nets, floats, and cages, competing with cultured shellfish for food and space. Such aggressive crowding is of particular concern in the Damariscotta River, the heart of Maine’s $3 billion oyster industry. Paredes, a Ph.D. student, proposes to determine the settlement and growth patterns and seasonal dynamics of invasive ascidian communities in the Damariscotta, by surveying aquaculture facilities and deploying settlement plates throughout the estuary. Paredes will correlate these data with measurements of basic hydrographic and oceanographic variables, including salinity.

Sea Grant funds: $2,000