Sophie Perron, NSF REU student in the White lab, presented her summer research today. She used spatial age-structured population models to compare the efficacy of different metrics of larval connectivity information for marine protected area design.

Sophie Perron presents her REU research

A new paper – led by Northeastern MS student Harriet Booth and in collaboration with David Kimbro (Northeastern), Chris Stallings (USF), and Tim Pusack (Williams/Mystic) – uses a combination of field observations and field experiments to show that a recent increase in the abundance of an oyster predator (crown conch) has unexpectedly not led to the collapse of oyster populations in a Florida estuary, evidently because predation rates decrease at high predator densities.

Booth HS, Pusack TJ, White JW, Stallings CD, Kimbro DL. 2018. Intraspecific predator inhibition, not a prey size refuge, enables oyster population persistence during predator outbreaks. Marine Ecology Progress Series 602: 155-167

A new paper – led by Harbor Branch/FAU postdoc Lysel Garavelli and in collaboration with Iliana Chollet (Smithsonian) and Laurent Chérubin (FAU) – applies population dynamics theory to larval connectivity simulations from computational ocean circulation models to find that some northern Caribbean spiny lobster populations may be self-persistent, despite widespread larval disperal.

Garavelli L, White JW, Chollet I, Box SJ, Chérubin LM. 2018. Identifying relevant spatial scales for management to ensure the persistence of a highly exploited species. Conservation Letters, in press. DOI 10.1111/conl1257

A new paper – led by UNCW PhD student Verena Wang and in collaboration with Fred Scharf (UNCW) and Steve Arnott (SCDNR) – uses otolith chemistry analysis to show that southern flounder do not return to their natal estuary after spawning migrations. This is additional evidence that the stock is well mixed across the US South Atlantic, and should not be managed as single-state unit stocks.

Wang VH, White JW, Arnott SA, Scharf FS. 2018. Population connectivity of southern flounder in the U.S. South Atlantic revealed by otolith chemical analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series 569: 165-179

A new paper – in collaboration with David Kimbro (Northeastern) and Chris Stallings (USF) and led by former USF postdoc Tim Pusack (Williams/Mystic) – shows that the southern oyster drill, an important predator on Gulf of Mexico oyster reefs, has lower per capita predation rates in larger groups. This means that oyster mortality during drill outbreaks may be slightly lower than otherwise expected.

Pusack TJ, White JW, Tillotson H, Kimbro DL, Stallings CD. 2018. Size-dependent feeding and intraspecific inhibition of an estuarine snail on oysters. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 501: 74-82

Will’s research on the relationship between salinity and oyster population dynamics  in Apalachicola Bay, Florida (including Kimbro et al. and Pusack et al.) was brought up during oral arguments in the matter of Florida vs. Georgia before the U.S. Supreme Court. Long story short, more water from Georgia would have mitigated the 2012 oyster fishery collapse, and Florida did not overharvest oysters prior to 2012.

A new paper – in collaboration with David Kimbro (Northeastern) and Chris Stallings (USF) examines the factors contributing to the collapse of the Apalachicola Bay oyster fishery in 2011-2012.

Kimbro DL, White JW, Tillotson H, Cox N, Christopher M, Stokes-Cawley O, Yuan S, Pusack T, Stallings CD. 2017. Local and regional stressors interact to drive a salinization-induced outbreak of predators on Florida oyster reefs. Ecosphere 8: e01992