Increasing Hatchery Production of Larval Eastern Oysters, Crassostrea virginica, in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Through Optimization of Carbonate Chemistry and Salinity in Source Water

Principal Investigator

As part of the project led by Dr. Reginald Blaylock, Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center, University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Xinping Hu’s group will accomplish the following:

  1. Travel to Ocean Springs, MS to help set up a multistressor challenge experiment using four salinity levels and three carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. Mass flow controllers will be used to mix pure CO2 and filtered air to create different CO2 concentrations at different salinities. Dr. Hu also will bring carbonate chemistry analytical equipment and set up appropriate water chemistry conditions to be used to culture eastern oyster larvae and examine the responses of these larvae to changes in water chemistry. Periodic water chemistry analysis (via mail-in samples) will be conducted at TAMU-CC to ensure the water chemistry quality after the system setup.
  2. Analyze seawater carbonate chemistry from different water intake sites located in both Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay, from which water is pumped into oyster hatcheries. This analysis will occur weekly to biweekly during the oyster growth season (April to September).
  3. Water chemistry data, from both the experimental system and the hatchery intake sites, will be used to create a model product that will predict the intake water conditions for local oyster hatcheries.