Spatial and Temporal Ovigerity, Effect of Benzo[α] Pyrene on Reproduction, and a K-12 Classroom Research Application of the Daggerblade Grass Shrimp Palaemonetes Pugio

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Thompson, Coral A.
Ebanks, Sue E.
Department of Marine Sciences
Grass Shrimp
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The daggerblade grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio inhabits estuaries along the East and Gulf coasts of the United States, is a link between trophic levels, and is exposed to seasonal changes and pollution within these coastal habitats. The purpose of this thesis was to determine spatial and temporal ovigerity of the daggerblade grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio , determine the effects of benzo[α]pyrene (BαP) on reproduction in the shrimp, and develop and implement a K-12 activity based on the data collected. Adult grass shrimp were collected twice a month from 3 sites in the Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A. region from August 2014 to August 2015. The greatest average weight, average length, and average number of eggs per shrimp were found at Country Club Creek (p<0.001). Clutch sizes were larger early in the reproductive season (April, May, and June) than later in the reproductive season (July, August, September). The site with the highest concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the sediment (108.5 μg/kg) was Country Club Creek. Adult grass shrimp were collected from Country Club Creek and exposed to 0, 3, or 6 μg/L of BαP prior to and during spawning. After 7 d of exposure to clean seawater, the eggs were removed and the clutch size and embryonic stages were determined. The embryos were categorized into 3 stages and the eggs exposed to 0 μg/L of BαP were more commonly more developed than eggs exposed to 3 or 6 μg/L of BαP. Clutch size was not significantly different across the sites (α=0.05). Lastly, Shrimp Socktail was an activity created using size differences at different sites to teach students about modeling and effects of environmental conditions on growth.