South Sound Science Symposium poster presenter audio

During the liveblog of the South Sound Science Symposium, I wrote about solely what was being said on stage. But, there were a dozen or so poster presenters talking about their research as well. Here are a couple of those presenters.

Rana Brown is taking a look at how geoduck aquaculture might be impacting local ecosystems. Here is some audio of Rana talking about here research (you can can download the original file here). Rana is a shellfish technician with the Squaxin Island Tribe.

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Here is the description of Rana’s research from the symposium:

Geoduck aquaculture has been a lucrative and controversial business for decades in Washington State. Recently, as more intertidal lands are converted to geoduck farms, concerns have been raised over the effects of these farms on local ecosystems. In 2007 the state legislature passed Bill 2220 which created a program within Sea Grant (University of Washington) to identify research goals and then to conduct research as needed. One area of concern is how these farms, and the way in which they are operated, are affecting biodiversity in Puget Sound. One argument is that these farms are (or eventually become) a monoculture, and that ultimately they are lowering biodiversity in areas in which they are located. This proposed research project will investigate these claims and attempt to determine if geoduck farming operations affect biodiversity of benthic mobile fauna. Two stages of geoduck aquaculture will be tested for differences. One treatment group will be that which has recently been planted and has tubes with blanket netting. The other will be a bed that is in grow-out phase that has no predator protections. Testing these two treatments should allow me to identify if the associated structures and/or geoduck presence are having any impacts on the local community structure. Research locations will be in southern Puget Sound with sampling beginning in May 2009 and ending in October 2009.

Sarah Haque tracked cutthroat trout throughout South Sound, finding some interesting results. You can download her description here. Sarah is a habitat biologist with the Squaxin Island Tribe.

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Here is the rundown on her research from the symposium:

Few studies have focused on the anadromous life-history form of coastal cutthroat. Migratory pathways of coastal cutthroat, especially short-distance estuarine migrations, are even less understood. Previous studies on coastal cutthroat trout primarily focused on freshwater systems and described spawning and rearing characteristics, population structures, and genetics of the freshwater life-history forms. This study collected baseline data on movements and nearshore habitat use of two sample populations (Totten-Little Skookum Inlets and Squaxin/Hope Island) of anadromous coastal cutthroat trout in South Puget Sound using acoustic tracking technology. A total of forty cutthroat were captured in their marine environment, surgically implanted with acoustic transmitters and tracked for eight months via a network of multi-channel acoustic receivers placed throughout the deep South Sound area of South Puget Sound. Analysis suggested a difference in movement patterns and distances traveled between sample populations; however, the overall trend for both sample groups was a movement towards the extreme terminal areas of the study area. A significant difference (P<0.05) in movements in relation to sizeclass was found in both populations. Analysis of associations between movements of coastal cutthroat trout and chum salmon migrations suggested the Totten-Little Skookum Inlets group displayed movement patterns that closely followed both adult and juvenile chum salmon migrations. However, movement patterns displayed from the Squaxin/Hope Island group did not reveal this same behavior, indicating a lack of large-scale movements from broader and deeper-water areas into more defined inlets in response to temporally discrete chum salmon migrations. Data also suggested that anadromous coastal cutthroat in South Puget Sound may have a home range distinct from Central and North Puget Sound and may heavily utilize specific habitats, such as Skookum Inlet, during the fall and winter months.