A dramatic increase in prevalence of the recently discovered bopyrid isopod parasite, Orthione griffenis, likely introduced in the 1980s from Asia to the Pacific coast of North America, coincided with the 2002 collapse of a population of its burrowing mud shrimp host, Upogebia pugettensis, in Willapa Bay, Washington that had been stable since monitoring began in 1988. An examination of whether O. griffenis infections were sufficient to cause this decline and other recently noted U. pugettensis population collapses in Pacific Coast estuaries was conducted. O. griffenis prevalence was the highest in large reproductive-sized female shrimp and caused an estimated average 68% loss of U. pugettensis reproduction in Yaquina Bay, Oregon over a 5-year period. O. griffenis prevalence fluctuated from year to year, but trends were similar in all estuaries sampled. Uninfected shrimp transplanted back into locations from which they had disappeared acquired the parasite, suggesting that O. griffenis is extremely effective at finding its host even in estuaries with very low host density. Since both U. pugettensis and O. griffenis have pelagic larval stages, their population dynamics are also influenced by coastal nearshore oceanography and estuarine recruitment success. Coastwide lack of estuarine recruitment appears to coincide with declines in density of a co-occurring thalassinid shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis, but cannot alone explain U. pugettensis population collapses. Although patterns observed to date could be explained by the presence of either a native or introduced parasitic castrator, assumptions of a resilient coevolved host-parasite relationship do not apply for introduced species, so continued efforts to follow the spatial extent and consequences of the O. griffenis-U. pugettensis host-parasite relationship are warranted.
Estuaries & Coasts is the journal of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Begun in 1977 as Chesapeake Science, the journal has gradually expanded its scope and circulation. Today, the journal publishes manuscripts covering aspects of research on physical, chemical, geological or biological systems, as well as management of those systems, at the interface between the land and the sea. The interface is broadly defined to include areas within estuaries, lagoons, wetlands, tidal rivers, watersheds that include estuaries, and near-shore coastal waters. The journal publishes original research findings, reviews, techniques, and comments.
The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation is a private, nonprofit non partisan organization. The Federation was created in 1971, when the members of two older, regionally-based estuarine research societies (AERS and NEERS) decided that a national organization was needed to address estuarine and coastal issues more broadly. The regionally based Affiliate Societies now number seven and encompass all of the coastal regions that border the United States, Canada and Mexico.