Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Matthew Reaugh, East Stroudsburg University

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Effects of Harmful Algal Blooms on the Reproductive Success and Somatic Growth of Acartia tonsa in the Chesapeake Bay


The effects of diets consisting of the harmful algal bloom (HAB) species Pfiesteria piscicida (strain FDEPMDR23) and Prorocentrum minimum on the egg production and hatching success of the calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa were studied in laboratory experiments. These experiments were conducted in order to test the hypotheses that P. piscicida and P. minimum represent nutritionally deficient, or possibly toxic, diets to A. tonsa. A similar experiment was also conducted using the cryptophyte species Storeatula major since it was used as a food source to grow the P. piscicida. Each egg production and hatching experiment was run for 96h, which included a 48h acclimation period, a 24h experimental period, and an additional 24h period to allow eggs produced during the experimental period to hatch. Results obtained form the experiment using P. minimum as a food source show decreased egg production rates (expressed as eggs/female/day) and hatching success compared to diets consisting various diatoms and non-HAB forming dinoflagellates (information concerning these algal species was obtained from various sources cited within this paper). However, the P. minimum cultures used for this experiment were contaminated with S. major, so the results of this experiment cannot be directly linked to a diet consisting purely of P. minimum. Due to problems with copepod survival rates there is presently no data for the experiments involvingP. piscicida. or S. major. However, future experiments will be conducted to obtain this information. These results will also be combined with information on how these HAB diets affect the somatic growth of A. tonsa.