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  • Undergraduate Poster Abstracts
  • Marine Sciences

    THU-210 DIMETHYLMERCURY: A SOURCE OF MONOMETHYLMERCURY IN FOG

    • Mechelle Johnson ;
    • Kenneth Coale ;

    THU-210

    DIMETHYLMERCURY: A SOURCE OF MONOMETHYLMERCURY IN FOG

    Mechelle Johnson1, Kenneth Coale2.

    1Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, IA, 2Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA.

    Dimethylmercury (DMHg) and monomethylmercury (MMHg) are 2 naturally occurring neurotoxins found in marine systems. MMHg bioaccumulates in tissues causing increased concentrations in the food web. Recent studies show that maritime advective fog transports MMHg from the oceans to land where terrestrial biota also accumulate this neurotoxin. Gaseous evasion of DMHg has recently been proposed as a potential source of MMHg in fog, but the mechanism of its conversion remains unknown. In this study we show that photodemethylation is a factor in the conversion of DMHg to MMHg, thus a potential source of MMHg in fog. Seawater samples were collected from a conductivity-temperature-depth rosette in 2 upwelling zones in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Samples were incubated both in the sunlight and in darkness, and DMHg was subsequently analyzed. The difference between light and dark-incubated samples indicates the lability of MMHg to photolysis. Results show, whereas photodemethylation doesn’t occur in natural seawater, it does occur at significant rates under acidic conditions. Since fog water is acidic, these findings suggest photodemethylation may occur atmospherically, once DMHg is absorbed in fog. These experiments indicate the source and cycling of mercury from oceans to terrestrial ecosystems.

    FRI-219 POST-NUCHAL DEPRESSION AS AN INDICATOR OF HEALTH IN BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS)

    • Lynnette Reed ;
    • Katie McHugh ;

    FRI-219

    POST-NUCHAL DEPRESSION AS AN INDICATOR OF HEALTH IN BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS)

    Lynnette Reed1, Katie McHugh2.

    1Cypress College, Cypress, CA, 2Chicago Zoological Society, Sarasota, FL.

    Health assessments for resident dolphins in Sarasota Bay, Florida, provide direct measurements of body condition for a subset of animals. However, direct handling is stressful to the animal, involves risky capture and release techniques, and limits researchers’ ability to study larger populations. Therefore, developing photographic methods to determine the health of free-ranging dolphins is a priority. A metric has been developed using stranded dolphins that examined the presence of a visible area of reduced blubber behind the skull called a post-nuchal depression (PND). It accurately indicated poor body condition in stranded animals. This study used archived images and data from dolphin population monitoring surveys, prey abundance studies, and health assessments to apply the PND metric to live, free-ranging individuals. Images from 2 seasonal surveys were coded to identify the individual and the post-nuchal region and to determine if a PND was measurable. ACDSee was used to score individuals by drawing a line across the dorsal surface to see if a space existed below the line behind the nuchal crest of the skull. Individuals were scored with a 0 (no PND), 1 (visible PND), borderline (BL), or cannot be determined (CBD). PND prevalence was compared by years of scarce and abundant resource availability and by age and sex class. PND prevalence was higher in the year of scarce prey, and varied significantly among age class, but not by sex class. This method may be useful as a basic indicator of overall population health.

    FRI-208 CLASSIFICATION OF MUSSEL HUMMOCKS: USING COLOR AND FEATURE EXTRACTION IN IMAGES TO IDENTIFY HUMMOCKS IN MUSSEL BEDS

    • Franco Sanchez ;
    • Andrew Hill ;

    FRI-208

    CLASSIFICATION OF MUSSEL HUMMOCKS: USING COLOR AND FEATURE EXTRACTION IN IMAGES TO IDENTIFY HUMMOCKS IN MUSSEL BEDS

    Franco Sanchez, Andrew Hill.

    California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA.

    Mussel beds in the rocky intertidal region vary in thickness, with the thickest regions often containing hummocks that typically indicate excessive mussel crowding. Hummocks are clusters of disoriented mussel that attach to neighboring mussels as opposed to the primary substratum and, as a result, are susceptible to hydrodynamic disturbances that may lead to gap formations due to inadequate grip. Mussel hummocks are great indicators of future bed exfoliation, and automated image classification, compared to visual classification, may provide a more efficient, accessible, and reliable method to identify hummocks in the field versus human classification. The goal of this research is to develop an image-analysis method that can successfully classify hummocks at a rate similar to human review. This geographic information system (GIS) and photography classification method will identify individual hummocks in images of mussel beds using georeferenced photo-mosaics from mussel bed surveys. Color and feature extracting from image-analysis software will generate signature files using algorithms and statistical information found in the image pixel clusters to identify patterns found in hummocks for categorization. This research is currently in the color exploration phase and in the future will experiment with contour and shape features. If this classification method is viable, it can facilitate future mussel bed research by using satellite and drone photography to identify hummocks.

    THU-200 MEASURING GRAZING RATES OF THE WINTER BLOOM-FORMING HETEROCAPSA ROTUNDATA USING 2 METHODOLOGIES

    • Alison Aceves ;
    • Jamie Pierson ;
    • Nicole Millette ;

    THU-200

    MEASURING GRAZING RATES OF THE WINTER BLOOM-FORMING HETEROCAPSA ROTUNDATA USING 2 METHODOLOGIES

    Alison Aceves1, Jamie Pierson2, Nicole Millette2.

    1Division of Science and Environmental Policy, California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA, 2Center for Environmental Science, University of Maryland, Cambridge, MD.

    Mixotrophic plankton are capable of obtaining their energy through photosynthesis and phagocytosis, and have been observed to be common among marine and freshwater dinoflagellates. The role of mixotrophic dinoflagellates in the microbial loop has received little attention. Organisms that were only thought to introduce new carbon into the loop through photosynthesis may also consume fixed carbon by ingesting bacteria, making the microbial loop more complex that originally conceived. The nanodinoflagellate Heterocapsa rotundata was cultured under various light and nutrient regimes to investigate the role of phototrophy and phagotrophy during winter conditions in the Chesapeake Bay. We quantified grazing rates of H. rotundata on bacteria using 2 feeding methods, ingestion of polycarbonate microspheres and prey removal experiments. Ingestion of fluorescent microspheres by H. rotundata revealed their ability to phagocytize particles. Using flow cytometry, we calculated grazing rates of H. rotundata on bacteria under various light intensities and ammonium concentrations and found that H. rotundata increased phagotrophy at lower light intensities. Also, ammonium was positively correlated with the grazing rates of H. rotundata. We conclude that H. rotundata uses mixotrophy as a primary source for obtaining carbon during the winter when there is limited light and low temperatures.

    THU-201 DISTINCTIVE FREQUENCY DOWNSHIFT FEATURE OF BLUE WHALE B CALLS IN THE GULF OF ALASKA

    • Arina Favilla ;
    • Ana Sirović ;

    THU-201

    DISTINCTIVE FREQUENCY DOWNSHIFT FEATURE OF BLUE WHALE B CALLS IN THE GULF OF ALASKA

    Arina Favilla1, Ana Sirović2.

    1Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, 2Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.

    Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) populations worldwide have regionally distinctive songs. These songs consist of low-frequency tonal calls that may have a mating function since they are produced mainly by males. Within the Northeast Pacific (NEP) population, the song consists of 2 units designated A and B. Inter-population variability of song has not been investigated previously. Thus, this project investigated this variation in the B call between the whale songs of two locations, the Gulf of Alaska and the Southern California Bight. B calls were manually detected in data recorded by high-frequency acoustic recording packages (HARPs) deployed in both locations during 2012 - 2013. Frequency measurements were made along multiple time points of the calls. The average call for Gulf of Alaska was higher in frequency than the average call for Southern California. A paired t-test was used to determine that the Gulf of Alaska calls had a significant frequency downshift in the second part of the call which was not present in Southern California B calls. This variation may suggest the whales are from distinct subpopulations. Further studies should investigate B calls at locations in between Alaska and California to better understand the geographic extent of the subpopulation that possesses this characteristic. Understanding fine scale-spatial variability of the NEP blue whale population is key in determining the current status of their recovery after the extensive whaling that took place prior to 1971.

    FRI-201 ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE INFUSIONS INCREASE LIPOLYSIS IN A FASTING-ADAPTED MAMMAL

    • Debby Lee ;
    • Pablo Juarez ;
    • Jose Pablo Vasquez-Medina ;
    • Daniel E. Crocker ;
    • Rudy Ortiz ;

    FRI-201

    ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE INFUSIONS INCREASE LIPOLYSIS IN A FASTING-ADAPTED MAMMAL

    Debby Lee1, Pablo Juarez1, Jose Pablo Vasquez-Medina1, Daniel E. Crocker2, Rudy Ortiz1.

    1School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced, Merced, CA, 2Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA.

    Fasting in northern elephant seals (NES) is characterized by an increase in cortisol and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA). While cortisol can support the lipid-based metabolism of NES, its role is not clear in these animals. By stimulating cortisol through infusing adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and/or simultaneously blocking the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), we can better assess the residual effects of the fasting-induced role of cortisol and GR-mediated effects on lipid metabolism. We hypothesized that ACTH infusions increase lipolysis during fasting in NES pups. Four NES groups (n = 6/group) were sampled during day 0 (T0) and day 6 after treatment (T6): 1) control (no treatment), 2) ACTH-infused (bolus-infusions at T0 and day 3), 3) GR-blocker (slow-release tablets of RU486 at T0), and 4) ACTH+GR-blocker. Plasma cortisol decreased between T0 and T6 in the ACTH-infused (263 ± 36 to 154 ± 13 nmol/L) group suggesting that adrenal exhaustion may have caused a supression in cortisol secretion. Plasma aldosterone increased in the ACTH-infused group (109 ± 29 to 255 ± 46 pg/mL) between T0 and T6 suggesting that ACTH infusions are capable of exhausting the fasciculata, but not the glomerulosa during fasting. Plasma NEFA levels increased in the ACTH-infused group (0.84 ± 0.13 to 1.16 ± 0.06 mmol/L) between T0 and T6 within one week of fasting suggesting that lipolysis is increased. No change was observed in the plasma NEFA levels of the GR-blocker groups suggesting that lipolysis is potentially GR-mediated. This study provides insight to the effects of cortisol in mammals that rely on lipid oxidation during their natural fasts.

    THU-208 TEMPORAL DISTRIBUTION OF OLYMPIA OYSTER (OSTREA LURIDA) LARVAE AND SPAT WITHIN FIDALGO BAY, WASHINGTON

    • Jefferson Emm ;
    • Rosa Hunter ;
    • Marco Hatch ;

    THU-208

    TEMPORAL DISTRIBUTION OF OLYMPIA OYSTER (OSTREA LURIDA) LARVAE AND SPAT WITHIN FIDALGO BAY, WASHINGTON

    Jefferson Emm, Rosa Hunter, Marco Hatch.

    Salish Sea Research Center, Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA.

    Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida) are a reef-forming oyster and the only oyster native to the west coast spanning from Baja, Mexico to Alaska. A combination of development and mismanagement has resulted in local extinctions of Olympia oyster sub-populations along the western U.S. coast and the Salish Sea. Fidalgo Bay, Washington, has witnessed an extirpation of Olympia oysters. Restoration efforts to Fidalgo Bay during 2002 included the placement of adult Olympia oysters. In subsequent years, habitat enhancement projects have been carried out by adding Pacific oyster shell to the beaches. Annual observations since then have shown that the Olympia oyster population is increasing. This project focuses on identifying the spatial and temporal distribution of newly settled Olympia oysters in Fidalgo Bay. Specifically, the hypotheses being tested are 1) young Olympia oysters are more likely to settle near adult populations, and 2) larvae abundance will directly correlate to spat abundance. To quantify recruitment, 8 spat monitoring locations around Fidalgo Bay were monitored bi-weekly utilizing shell strings which were constructed from Pacific oyster shells. To quantify Olympia oyster larvae, weekly planktonic pump samples were collected near the adult Olympia oyster population. In support of hypothesis 1, results show that Olympia oyster recruitment is higher in areas which directly neighbor the known brooding population. In support of hypothesis 2, larvae abundance shows direct correlation to spat settlement. This research will provide a framework to monitor rebounding Olympia oyster populations. Results may assist in designing networks of adult and habitat restoration for Olympia oysters.

    FRI-200 NOVEL BAT STAR PATIRIA MINIATA HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS

    • Chelsea Burgess ;
    • Michael Navarro ;
    • Corey Garza ;

    FRI-200

    NOVEL BAT STAR PATIRIA MINIATA HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS

    Chelsea Burgess1, Michael Navarro2, Corey Garza2.

    1Haskell Indian Nation University, Lawrence, KS, 2California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA.

    Species habitat association occurs when individuals from a given species select for specific environments. Species habitat associations have been well studied in terrestrial habitats but hardly within marine ecosystems. This study examined the bat star, Patiria miniata, and its potential association with shallow subtidal sandy habitats as a model system. Little is known about how or if bat stars associate with specific marine habitats. This study will add to a growing body of literature on species habitat associations in marine systems. Video survey techniques via towcam were used to collect data for P. miniata across sandy habitats north and east of the Monterey Bay Harbor. These habitats were sub-categorized into bedform types by increments of 10 cm and depths up to 70 ft. Each subtidal habitat survey underwent post-processing analysis through photo frame-by-frame protocol in the laboratory. Our a priori hypothesis was that P. miniata would have higher densities on flat bedform type of 0 cm and in depths greater than 15 ft. However, preliminary results indicate that P. miniata rarely occurs at depths less than 15 ft on sand indicating that their distribution may not be based solely on bedform type. Rather, at these depths, P. miniata may be competitively excluded by the sand dollar, Dendraster excentrius.

    FRI-210 THE EFFECTS OF MULTIPLE CLIMATE CHANGE-RELATED STRESSORS ON LARVAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE RED ABALONE, HALIOTIS RUFESCENS

    • Madison Heard ;
    • Charles Boch ;
    • Chris Lovera ;
    • Kurt Buck ;
    • Jim Barry ;

    FRI-210

    THE EFFECTS OF MULTIPLE CLIMATE CHANGE-RELATED STRESSORS ON LARVAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE RED ABALONE, HALIOTIS RUFESCENS

    Madison Heard1, Charles Boch2, Chris Lovera3, Kurt Buck3, Jim Barry3.

    1California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA, 2Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA, 3Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA.

    Global climate change is driving 3 principle shifts in ocean conditions including warming of surface waters and acidification and deoxygenation of deeper waters. These changes create stressful conditions within marine ecosystems and are projected to increase through this century and beyond. Seasonal events known as upwelling bathe coastal ecosystems in colder, nutrient-rich waters from deeper areas of the ocean; however the acidic, deoxygenated water, due to climate change, is brought to nearshore-coastal communities through these seasonal events and can be challenging for species inhabiting these areas. To assess the impacts of current and future upwelling-related ocean conditions, we selected the red abalone, Haliotis rufescens, as a model organism affected by upwelling dynamics. Few studies have been done to test the effects of simultaneous exposure to low pH and low dissolved oxygen on developing embryos. In this novel study, we measured the effects that a multi-stressor event such as upwelling would have on development of organisms such as H. rufescens. We compared the developmental stages until hatching for abalone embryos through the exposure to 2 treatments, low pH/low oxygen and low pH/high oxygen, and a control treatment of high pH/high oxygen. This experiment evaluates whether these potentially harmful conditions would slow and/or impede the transition from early development stages to free-swimming planktonic larvae. Preliminary data suggests development in a low pH/low oxygen environment will slow hatching of H. rufescens embryos.

    THU-202 FILMING KELP FOREST FISH BEHAVIORAL CHANGES CAUSED BY LOW OXYGEN LEVELS

    • Robert Moyneur ;
    • Paul Leary ;
    • Steve Moore ;

    THU-202

    FILMING KELP FOREST FISH BEHAVIORAL CHANGES CAUSED BY LOW OXYGEN LEVELS

    Robert Moyneur1, Paul Leary2, Steve Moore1.

    1California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA, 2Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA.

    Dissolved oxygen (DO) is a crucial resource to sustain marine life. Oxygen levels can vary due to biological and physical processes such as respiration and advection. On the California coast, the primary cause of hypoxic events is wind-driven upwelling where winds drive the offshore advection of surface waters causing vertical transport of cold, nutrient rich and low DO water onto the shallow continental shelf. Little is known, however, about the impacts of hypoxia on fish behavior. Our research uses laboratory experimentation and field observations to quantify these effects. In the field, we built a custom underwater camera system, the SquidPod, to independently control a GoPro and monitor fish movements co-located with other environmental sensors. In the laboratory, we are conducting an experiment measuring the startle response in juvenile rockfish across a range of oxygen levels and exposure durations. We hypothesize that rockfish startle responses will be affected (likely slowed) by low oxygen levels, and we will see avoidance behaviors in the field during hypoxic events of similar levels as those that alter startle behavior. By using both laboratory and field techniques, we can directly observe behavioral changes mechanistically under controlled conditions and test whether these patterns hold true in the natural setting. Quantifying both measurements are important for demonstrating both how and why behavioral impacts occur during low oxygen events.

    THU-209 GENETIC DIVERSITY IN POPULATIONS OF A WIDESPREAD TROPICAL MYSID, MYSIDIUM GRACILE

    • Rosaura Chapina ;
    • Jennifer Chavez- Ramos ;
    • Elizabeth Walsh ;

    THU-209

    GENETIC DIVERSITY IN POPULATIONS OF A WIDESPREAD TROPICAL MYSID, MYSIDIUM GRACILE

    Rosaura Chapina, Jennifer Chavez- Ramos, Elizabeth Walsh.

    The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX.

    Genetic diversity is essential for organisms to respond to environmental factors such as climate change and ocean acidification. Greater genetic diversity among organisms allows a higher probability of adaptation to changing environments. Since seawater temperatures continue to increase and become more acidic, marine organisms must adapt or migrate to new habitats to prevent populations from being decimated. The mysid Mysidium gracile is a shrimp-like crustacean that aggregates into swarms near coral reefs. They play a vital role in reef systems by occupying an important intermediate level of marine food webs by transferring energy from planktonic species to reef fishes. Thus, there is concern regarding the tolerance of reef- associated organisms to climatic changes and overall coral reef health. The objective of this study is to determine the level of genetic variation within and among Caribbean M. gracile populations. Mysids from 7 islands were collected and preserved for genetic analysis. The CO1 gene was amplified and sequenced for 100 mysids representing 14 swarms. Genetic diversity among populations varied from 0 - 30%, and distances within populations ranged from 0 - 26%. Haplotype diversity was determined using DnaSP 5.0. Twenty-three haplotypes were detected with a haplotype diversity of 0.94, thus indicating a high level of haplotypic variation. Mysids from 2 populations shared a haplotype, implying that there is potential gene flow between these populations. Overall, these results show that there is substantial genetic variation within and among mysid populations that may allow them to adapt and withstand environmental factors.

    THU-219 LASER-VIDEO QUADRAT AS A SIMPLE METHOD FOR RAPID DATA ACQUISITION USING SCUBA

    • Veronica Larwood ;
    • Samantha Whitney ;
    • Steve Moore ;
    • Corey Garza Michael Navarro ;

    THU-219

    LASER-VIDEO QUADRAT AS A SIMPLE METHOD FOR RAPID DATA ACQUISITION USING SCUBA

    Veronica Larwood, Samantha Whitney, Steve Moore, Corey Garza Michael Navarro.

    California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA.

    There are various methods to collect video data to identify species, make habitat associations, and to quantify species density and percent cover using SCUBA. A stereo-diver operated vehicle (DOV) is an example that has heavy resource requirements, including time and money. A laser-video quadrat is an effective alternative to quantify species density and percent cover while on SCUBA, it is easy to use and it has simple and rapid post-processing methods. The laser-quadrat collects 2D imagery with a downward facing HD GoPro Hero 3+ camera to allow for identification and quantification. Using the calibrated, fixed-laser quadrat, this tool was developed to quantify the species density and percent cover of subtidal sandy habitats of the upper-continental shelf at Monterey Bay, California. In this study, the laser-video quadrat was flown on the shelf along a 15 meter contour at an altitude of 1.5 meters above the seafloor. Calibration of the laser-quadrat was conducted pre- and post-transect run, which included assessment of the accuracy of the laser-video quadrat and its precision through each survey. The calibration results suggest that the diver operated laser-video quadrat is an efficient method to rapidly collect and quantify species density and percent cover along low relief seafloor habitats. Further, in addition to saving time, this method of data collection is a viable low-cost alternative to stereo-DOV and this method could help facilitate subtidal data acquisition in countries that have limited resources for conducting research using SCUBA.

    FRI-218 THE REPRODUCTIVE MORPHOLOGY OF FEMALE BLACK PERCH (EMBIOTOCA JACKSONI)

    • Evelyn Ruelas ;
    • Kristy Forsgren ;

    FRI-218

    THE REPRODUCTIVE MORPHOLOGY OF FEMALE BLACK PERCH (EMBIOTOCA JACKSONI)

    Evelyn Ruelas, Kristy Forsgren.

    California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA.

    The black perch is a teleost reef fish found along the southern California coast in intertidal and sub-tidal kelp beds, eel grass beds, bays, and estuaries. Black perch are viviparous. During copulation, males transfer spermatophores (packets containing sperm) via an intermittent organ, which females can store for 5-6 months before fertilization. Little is known about female reproductive physiology in black perch. We hypothesized that the morphological changes that occur seasonally in the female black perch can be described histologically. Black perch were collected in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties. Ovarian tissue was dissected, fixed, and embedded in paraffin wax, sectioned using a rotary microtome to a thickness of 5 µm, and examined using a light microscope. Females were categorized as being immature: ovaries were composed of primary ovarian follicles (>65%) with fewer follicles at the secondary stage (<35%); mature: ovaries contained primary follicles (43%), secondary follicles (36%), and vitellogenic follicles (21%); or reproductive: ovaries contained fertilized ova (46%) in addition to ovarian follicles at the primary stage (46%) and vitellogenic follicles (8%), and secondary follicles were absent. Only one fully developed ovary was present in maturing and reproductive females associated with at least one spermatophore. Future research includes describing the embryonic development of the ovary and reproductive status of females at birth. A thorough description of the black perch ovary will significantly contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of fish reproduction.

    THU-218 SEAGRASS AND SUBMERGED AQUATIC VEGETATION MAPPING AND CHARACTERIZATION IN THE BIOLUMINESCENT LAGOON, LAGUNA GRANDE, FAJARDO, PUERTO RICO

    • Isabel Sanchez-Viruet ;
    • Pedro M. Maldonado ;

    THU-218

    SEAGRASS AND SUBMERGED AQUATIC VEGETATION MAPPING AND CHARACTERIZATION IN THE BIOLUMINESCENT LAGOON, LAGUNA GRANDE, FAJARDO, PUERTO RICO

    Isabel Sanchez-Viruet, Pedro M. Maldonado.

    Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, PR.

    Dynamics and behavior of seagrasses have been poorly documented in bioluminescent bays. Seagrasses grow in soft or sandy bottom of estuaries and along coastal margins of tropical, temperate, and sub-Arctic waters, and they are keystone components throughout the world’s costal ecosystems. In this study, we want to establish base line data to monitor seagrass meadow dynamics and associated communities inside a bioluminescent lagoon in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. To map and characterize seagrasses and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), transects at intervals of 4 meters were established perpendicular to the shore out to the edge of the seagrass meadow. At each transect, seagrass and SAVs were characterized by taking pictures and percentage cover was estimated using a 1 square-meter plot. The distance from the shore was also documented. Preliminary results based on 10 transects showed that 7 species of SAV and 1 species of seagrass were present inside the bioluminescent lagoon. The species with major cover was the macroalgae Caulerpa sertularioides followed by seagrass Thalassia testudinum. However, big patches of C. sertularioides were observed only from October to December whereas T. testudinun was observed during the whole study period (October to January). Future work will include the continuous mapping of the seagrasses and determination of its patchiness. This work will help in the understanding of the bioluminescent lagoon ecosystem’s complexity.

    FRI-211 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY OF THE CALIFORNIA MUSSEL (MYTILUS CALIFORNIANUS) IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

    • Prarthana Shankar ;
    • Jennifer Burnaford ;
    • Kristy Forsgren ;

    FRI-211

    AN ASSESSMENT OF THE REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY OF THE CALIFORNIA MUSSEL (MYTILUS CALIFORNIANUS) IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

    Prarthana Shankar, Jennifer Burnaford, Kristy Forsgren.

    California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA.

    The California mussel (Mytilus californianus) is a common intertidal bivalve that filters small particles from water in its environment. This mode of feeding can result in accumulation of water-borne contaminants within the animal’s tissue. There is an increasing concern for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) entering the marine environment because these chemicals can alter physiological processes of aquatic organisms. Thus, we hypothesized that mussel reproductive potential would differ across 3 sites which likely have different levels of EDCs. Mussels were haphazardly collected in April 2015 from 3 sites in Southern California: San Pedro (SP), Corona Jetty (CJ), and Dana Point Jetty (DJ). We measured shell length (mm) and dissected and weighed gonads (g) to calculate gonadosomatic index (GSI: gonad mass as a proportion of soft body mass). We prepared gonad tissue for histological analysis, determined the sex of individuals, staged gonads according to gamete development, measured oocyte diameter (μm), and calculated oocyte volume (μm3). There were no significant differences in shell length or GSI for either males or females across sites. The majority of female oocytes at all sites were previtellogenic. Oocyte volume was significantly smaller (p < 0.0001) at SP than at CJ, while mussels from DJ had an intermediate oocyte volume compared to the other sites. No histological abnormalities of female gonads were observed. Similar GSI across sites suggests that the mussels were in the same reproductive stage of development but the different oocyte volume at SP suggests differences in habitat quality. We are currently analyzing male gonads and results will be compared across seasons.

    THU-212 SINGLE STRANDED DNA VIRUS COMMUNITIES OFF THE WASHINGTON COAST COMPOSED OF UNCULTURED VIRUSES AND MICROVIRUSES

    • Andrea Odell ;
    • Gabrielle Rocap ;
    • Michael Carlson ;

    THU-212

    SINGLE STRANDED DNA VIRUS COMMUNITIES OFF THE WASHINGTON COAST COMPOSED OF UNCULTURED VIRUSES AND MICROVIRUSES

    Andrea Odell, Gabrielle Rocap, Michael Carlson.

    1 School of Aquatics and Fisheries, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, Seattle, WA.

    Viruses are the most abundant microorganisms found in the ocean and are important in maintaining marine food webs. Viral diversity is immense. Within this diverse group of viruses are the single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) viruses, many of which infect marine eukaryotic organisms. Unfortunately, very little is known about the environmental distribution and diversity of these pathogens. To help understand the diversity and distribution of the ssDNA viruses, we constructed phylogenetic trees using the capsid and replication-associated genes for the ssDNA viruses. These phylogenetic trees were used to identify which viruses can be found in the marine environment. We looked at virus communities from 4 locations off the Washington coast. We hypothesized that the ssDNA virus communities would vary between these locations because of differing host communities. Ultimately, our results helped to understand the diversity of ssDNA viruses and how they change in the ocean.

    THU-211 REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY OF PACIFIC SANDDAB COLLECTED NEAR A WASTEWATER OUTFALL SITE

    • Velvet L. Park ;
    • Kristy Forsgren ;

    THU-211

    REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY OF PACIFIC SANDDAB COLLECTED NEAR A WASTEWATER OUTFALL SITE

    Velvet L. Park, Kristy Forsgren.

    California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA.

    Over a billion gallons of wastewater effluent is discharged into Southern California coastal waters daily. Wastewater effluent contains endocrine disrupting compounds, chemicals that mimic hormones, which can potentially affect the physiology of organisms. We hypothesized that fishes collected near a wastewater outfall site would exhibit reproductive dysfunction. Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) were collected from a wastewater outfall site (n = 76) and a clean reference site (n = 86) in Southern California. Ovarian and testicular tissue was dissected, fixed, and embedded in paraffin wax for histological analysis. Male sanddab from the outfall site were significantly larger (p = 0.027 length; p = 0.020 weight) than males at the reference site in July. Juvenile females were significantly larger (p = 0.011 length; p = 0.001 weight) at the outfall site during summer months. Gonadosomatic index (GSI) for male fish did not differ significantly (p = 0.558) between sites, but juvenile females at the outfall site had a significantly greater GSI (p = 0.001) than at the reference site. Histological analysis revealed that ovaries from juvenile and adult female fish were dominated by primary growth stage follicles. Juvenile female fish at the outfall site had significantly more late cortical alveolus stage follicles (secondary growth) (p = 0.002) than did fish at the reference site. Adult testicular tissue was primarily composed of primary spermatocytes. Preliminary data indicate that sanddab collected from the outfall site had altered gonadal development. Currently, sex steroid hormone levels are being measured. Together, these data are anticipated to provide information regarding how wastewater effluent may be affecting the reproductive health of Pacific sanddab.

    FRI-212 PRELIMINARY FISH SPECIES IDENTIFICATION AT A BIOLUMINESCENT LAGOON IN PUERTO RICO

    • Stella Castro ;
    • Pedro M. Maldonado ;
    • Craig Lilyestrom ;

    FRI-212

    PRELIMINARY FISH SPECIES IDENTIFICATION AT A BIOLUMINESCENT LAGOON IN PUERTO RICO

    Stella Castro1, Pedro M. Maldonado1, Craig Lilyestrom2.

    1Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, PR, 2Marine Resources Division, Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR.

    Identifying the species that form a community is key to understanding the community’s function and dynamics. In the Puerto Rico archipielago, fish communities have a very important role in the economy, not only as a food source but also as a tourist attraction. In Puerto Rico, commercial and recreational fishing contribute millions of dollars to the economy. The population of tropical, coral-reef fishes and even some open waters species depends on healthy coastal ecosystems such as mangroves and sea grasses, for spawning and early-life development. The purpose of this project was to determine the species composition of a fish community in a tropical coastal lagoon. This study was conducted on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico at the bioluminescent lagoon, Laguna Grande, during the dry season (November - May). A seven-foot-radius cast net was used to collect fishes in randomly selected areas of the lagoon. Individuals were photographed, measured, and then released. A total of 37 individuals were collected, representing 8 species. Almost all individuals sampled in the lagoon were juveniles, suggesting that these species are using this ecosystem for spawning and early development, as has been found in other tropical lagoons. The flagfin mojarra (Eucinostomus melanoptrus) was the predominant species found during this sampling. Collection during other seasons and the use of multiple types of gear are recommended to obtain a better representation of the fish community in this lagoon.