SS1.01 Assessing Potential Environmental Impacts of Aquaculture
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Time: 11:45:00 AM
Location: Lecture Theatre
StaceyJE, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NF, Canada,
Deibel, D, , Memorial UNiversity of Newfoundland, St. John's, NF, Canada,
The role of zooplankton in sustainable shellfish aquaculture
Recent expansion of the bivalve aquaculture industry in Canada necessitates an assessment of the potential effects of these activities on water column and benthic processes. We examine both the impact of high density shellfish farming on the zooplankton communities of two cold water farms and the contribution of zooplankton excretion to the farms' nitrogen cycles. Our work is one component of larger, interdisciplinary study of the environmental sustainability of shellfish aquaculture in Newfoundland. By sampling quarterly in 2001-2002, we assess the abundance, biomass and size distribution of the mesozooplankton community of two Mytilus sp. farms in comparison with those of nearby hydrodynamically comparable reference sites. The contribution of the zooplankton community to the nitrogen budget and productivity of the farms is assessed using mass-specific excretion data determined on site. While sample collection and data analyses are ongoing and statistical tests have not yet been fully completed, a preliminary analysis suggests that the abundance of larger zooplankton (500-1200 microns) is lower at the shellfish farms relative to the reference sites, while the smaller zooplankton size fraction does not differ between sites.