IAA22 Book of Abstracts (PDF)

Meeting Program/Schedule (PDF)






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Oral | Posters

Oral Presentations



Day: 2, Session: 2, Talk: 4

Examination of Morphological Variation in Faxonius jeffersoni Populations Indicates the Presence of a Species Complex

Zachary L. Couch

Faxonius jeffersoni Rhoades is a poorly known member of the crayfish family Cambaridae currently found in six small stream systems in Jefferson, Oldham, and Bullitt counties in Kentucky, USA. Fitzpatrick (1967) was the first to report morphological variation in gonopod sculpturing, rostrum width, and areola width between populations of F. jeffersoni found in the Beargrass and Pond Creek drainages in Jefferson and Bullitt counties. During qualitative and quantitative surveys conducted as a part of this study from 2007–2010 throughout Kentucky, examination of several morphological characteristics indicate that F. jeffersoni may represent multiple species. Examined specimens of F. jeffersoni from the Beargrass (n=48) and Goose Creek (n=15) drainages possess a gonopod with terminal elements (equal in length) that are 26.51% (0.026) and 26.62% (0.019) of the total length of the gonopod, respectively, lack a shoulder below the central projection, and typically exhibit a smooth mandibular margin. Specimens of F. jeffersoni examined from the Pond Creek (n=21) and Abrams Run (n=6) drainages are typically characterized by having a gonopod with terminal elements (the central projection being longer than the mesial process) that are 31.93% (0.019) and 31.54% (0.026) of the total length of the gonopod, respectively, possess a shoulder on the gonopod below the central projection, and typically exhibit a dentate mandibular margin. A median carina is often observed in larger specimens from the Pond Creek and Abrams Run drainages but was always found to be lacking from examined specimens from the Beargrass and Goose Creek drainages. This study reports the findings of preliminary morphometric analyses collected to clarify the taxonomic status of F. jeffersoni. Additional data collection and analysis is ongoing. However, results of morphometric analyses conducted to date suggests that the population of F. jeffersoni found in the Pond Creek and Abrams Run drainages represents a new species. As the current range of the species resides in a largely urban watershed, these initial findings are encouraged for use by resource managers to begin to reassess the conservation status of the F. jeffersoni species complex and consider its need for legal protection at the state and federal levels.



Day: 2, Session: 3, Talk: 3

Modeling Effects of Crayfish Invasion and Drought on Crayfish Population Dynamics

Leah Bayer, Robert Fournier and DANIEL D. MAGOULICK

Crayfish play a crucial ecological role and are often considered a keystone species within freshwater ecosystems. However, North American crayfish species face several environmental and ecological threats including limited natural ranges, invasive species, and intensified drought. Demographic models can allow examination of population dynamics of a targeted species under a wide variety of disturbance scenarios. Here, we model the population dynamics of crayfish species with varied theoretical life histories and assess their responses to biological invasions and drought. We used RAMAS-Metapop to construct stage-based demographic metapopulation models parameterized using vital rates from established literature sources. Our models explored the population viability of four theoretical species under eleven disturbance scenarios and calculated estimates of terminal extinction risk, median time to quasi-extinction, and metapopulation occupancy. Our models indicate that populations respond differentially to disturbance based on life history. However, both r- and K-selected species appear to be highly susceptible to decline when faced with the additive effects of reduced carrying capacity due to invasion and reduced vital rates due to drought. By constructing models that explore a broad array of life histories and disturbance regimes, we hope to provide managers with tools to develop generalized, widely-applicable conservation strategies.



Day: 2, Session: 4, Talk: 1

Illegal Export of Australian Freshwater Crayfish – Intercepted Shipments: A Case of Euastacus

James M. Furse

The unique, and often remarkable, nature of the native flora and fauna of Australia is well known. Many of these native Australian species are highly attractive, desirable and sought-after by private collectors, but also commercial interests known to include the pet/aquarium, and restaurant and gourmet food trades. Live export of native Australian wildlife (i.e. amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles) for commercial purposes is prohibited under any circumstances. Live export of some invertebrates, fish and plants may be permitted (for commercial purposes), if they originate from approved sources or programs (i.e. captive breeding, aquaculture, or wildlife trade/wildlife trade management plans). For non-commercial purposes live exports of native flora and fauna is permitted (e.g. research, education), but as with any type of native species export, this is strictly regulated. Illegal export of Australian native flora and fauna is a most serious (and Federal) offence: penalties can be very serious indeed. Despite this, it is well established that there is illegal and ongoing "leakage" of native Australian flora and fauna. The freshwater crayfish fauna of Australia is both unique, remarkable, and well known in the aquarium trade. In some regions of the World this fauna is also evidently known in the restaurant and gourmet food trade. Illegal export(s) of native species of freshwater crayfish have previously occurred, and ongoing illegal exports of these animals are suspected, and sadly also expected. This talk will briefly outline the rules and regulations limiting live exports of native Australian flora and fauna, and outline case(s) of apparent illegal exports of Australian freshwater crayfish. A recent case where an illegal shipment of Euastacus was intercepted, and seized, in Australia will be discussed. This discussion will include information on the species that was intercepted, the intended geographical destination, destination-industry and why such activities pose a very serious threat to such species. Other details surrounding the intercepted shipment will be outlined as may be appropriate.



Day: 3, Session: 1, Talk: 3

STURE ABRAHAMSSON MEMORIAL LECTURE: Crayfish Color Patterns: Their Overlooked Significance

Guenter A. Schuster

Crayfish colors and color patterns have not been well studied. Horton H. Hobbs, Jr. and others, in descriptions of new species, mostly relied on verbal color pattern descriptions. This began to change with the publication of Raymond Bouchard's late 1980s color poster entitled "America's Crayfish." Since then, crayfish books and color posters representing crayfishes from several states and countries have been published. Now, color photographs are usually included in new species descriptions. State and federal agencies, as well as NGOs, are commonly using color photographs of crayfishes for conservation purposes. This talk addresses the North American cambarid crayfish fauna research on vision, and how color patterns might be useful to crayfishes. It will also address how these color patterns could provide important insight into the biology, behavior, taxonomy and systematics of crayfishes.



Day: 3, Session: 2, Talk: 2

The Louisiana Crawfish History Summary, The Last Fifty Years

JAY V. HUNER, Robert P. Romaire, C. Greg Lutz, Albert P. Gaude III., James W. Avault Jr., W. Ray McClain and Mark G. Shirley

The Louisiana USA crawfish industry has two commercial sources of crawfish, Procambarus spp., a wild harvest, mostly from the Atchafalaya River Basin (ARB) in the south-central area of the state, and a cultivated harvest from aquaculture ponds, located primarily in the southwestern area of the state. The combined harvest in 2016 was 135.2 MT with aquaculture accounting for 91%. The modern crawfish aquaculture industry originated in the early 1960s when low water during the ARB spring flood resulted in a poor harvest. State biologists worked with farmers in the Mississippi River alluvial valley and the southwestern prairie area to cultivate crawfish in purpose built impoundments and rice field impoundments. Area in crawfish culture increased from 4,050 ha in 1968 to 90,050 ha in 2017. Aquaculture accounted for 40-60% of annual harvest until the year 2000 and thereafter accounted for 70-95%. Changes in the hydrology of the ARB have largely accounted for declining wild crawfish harvests. The dominant species is Procambarus clarkii, the red swamp crawfish. Some Procambarus zonangulus, the southern white river crawfish, are harvested. Three major events impacted the Louisiana crawfish industry. First, import of crawfish products from the Peoples’ Republic of China beginning in the mid-1990s lowered prices. Second, an insecticide applied to rice fields used to cultivate crawfish in 1999-2001, combined with historical record summer drought which negatively impacted reproduction, led to widespread crop failure. Third, White Spot Shrimp Virus (WSSV), highly lethal to Procambarus spp. became widely distributed in both wild and cultured crawfish crops. Initially, competition from Chinese crawfish products had a negative impact on the Louisiana crawfish industry. However, over time imports led to development of new domestic markets and industry wide quality control practices. The highest crawfish production cost is harvesting – labor and bait. Crawfish are harvested in mesh traps that must be tended manually. Mechanized harvest boats have reduced the time necessary to tend traps but trapping is still highly inefficient. Initially, cut rough fish was the common bait, and later grain-based manufactured baits were developed but are relatively ineffective during colder months of the November/December – May/June seasons. A short-lived soft-shelled crawfish industry involving as many as 150 farmers developed in the 1980s. Despite good acceptance of the product, profits were low and entrepreneurs left the trade. No more than three producers remain today. Crawfish are cultivated by simulating the cool season wet, warm season dry hydrology of Louisiana. This works so well with rice farming that 75% of crawfish area is integrated with rice. The agricultural community refers to this landscape as working wetlands. The food rich system attracts predaceous, omnivorous, and vegetarian species of birds in great numbers. As a result, the National Audubon Society has designated the southwestern Louisiana region as an Important Bird Area of Global Importance. However, concerns about bird impacts on crawfish crops remain.



Day: 3, Session: 2, Talk: 3

Crayfish, Conservation, and the Coalfields: A Case Study in the Initiation of a Crayfish Conservation Effort in North America

Zachary J. Loughman

Crayfishes have been recognized as one of the most imperiled animal groups on the planet internationally now for more than a decade. Conservation efforts in Europe and Australia have been many, and respective governments on both continents and their associated conservation agencies have been quick to recognize and protect pockets of diversity and specific highly imperiled species. In North America, most recent efforts have occurred via state level conservation agencies, which when said agencies have effective, forceful legal power, garner extensive protection for crayfish. Not all state level agencies are created equal, and when agencies lack enforcement power, crayfishes and other imperiled species can be eliminated in the names of progress. In these situations, listing as a federally imperiled species becomes paramount for protection of said taxa and their associated current and potential habitat. Cambarus callainus (Big Sandy Crayfish) and Cambarus veteranus (Guyandotte River Crayfish) are two Central Appalachian endemic species of tertiary burrowing crayfish whose populations have experienced drastic declines due to excess sedimentation and other stressors allied with extractive industries and development of riparian corridors. In 2014, a status assessment was written by the United State Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) based on work completed by astacological workers prior to that time, which indicated that water quality threats associated with coal mining, development, and off-road vehicle tourism were likely pressures to both species ability to persist in the coal fields of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, and in the case of C. veteranus, West Virginia only. In 2015, a range-wide assessment was completed for both species that involved visiting every historical location as well as over 100 new sample locations. Resultant of this work, current data was acquired that identified the principal current threats to both taxa had not changed, and possibly had gotten worse, which ultimately was used in addition to previous workers data to justify listing both species federally. On April 7th, 2016 C. callainus was listed as threatened and C. veteranus was listed as endangered. Beginning in the spring of 2017, an aggressive conservation campaign was initiated involving federal, nonprofit, and state level conservation agencies to gather data that ultimately will be used to conserve and protect both species. Captive rearing protocols, life history studies of C. callainus and C. veteranus as well as their crayfish associates, telemetry studies, and crayfish community analysis in addition to the creation of a response team for spills associated with extractive industry was created. In addition to research efforts, development of educational workshops for biologists working in the coalfields was also undertaken and initiated in the spring of 2016. Here in a review and case study will be provided detailing this process and the hope for its ultimate utilization in the preservation and future conservation of these highly imperiled central Appalachian endemics.



Day: 3, Session: 4, Talk: 2

Investigation of the Salinity Tolerance and Life History of the Hammock Island Crayfish, Procambarus lunzi, in South Carolina, USA

ELIZABETH B. UNDERWOOD and Michael R. Kendrick

There are currently 38 confirmed species of freshwater crayfish in South Carolina, with nine of these found in the Sea Island/Coastal Marsh physiographic province (A.K.A. 'near-coastal zone') of the state. This includes Procambarus troglodytes, Procambarus lunzi, and the invasive Procambarus clarkii, among others. Crayfish in the near-coastal zone of South Carolina face numerous threats, including habitat destruction, invasive species, coastal flooding, sea-level rise, and storm surge. Sea level rise and storm surge events will likely lead to the salinization of near-coastal habitats, affecting crayfish that inhabit these wetlands. One crayfish species that will likely be affected by such salinization is the hammock (or hummock) island crayfish, Procambarus lunzi, which is the only crayfish known to inhabit hammock islands of South Carolina. Hammock islands are near-coastal upland features often consisting of maritime forest and depressional freshwater wetlands that are surrounded by salt marsh. Due to the isolated nature of its habitat and proximity of P. lunzi to the coast, potential conservation and management actions will need to consider how this species will respond to the effects of sea-level rise. The objectives of this research were to 1) Determine the salinity tolerance of 3 Procambarus species (P. lunzi, P. troglodytes, and P. clarkii) and 2) Assess life history of P. lunzi on a hammock island in South Carolina. For salinity tolerance trials of Procambarus lunzi, 32 individuals were collected from hammock island wetlands (salinities ranged from 0.3 to 7.0 psu) and exposed to one of two treatment conditions, 0 or 30 psu. Mean percent survival at the end of the first trial was 18.75%. It was hypothesized that the crayfish may have been previously stressed from high-salinity habitat conditions on the island and a second experimental trial was conducted. Crayfish from the first trial's 0 psu treatments (n=16) were kept in freshwater and fed every other day for two weeks. They were then placed in either 0 or 30 psu treatment tanks with each salinity treatment being replicated twice. Mean percent survival at the end of the seven-day trial was 100% at 0 psu, and 87.5% at 30 psu. Similar experiments were conducted with P. troglodytes and P. clarkii, and survival at 30 psu was 63% and 56%, respectively. The life history of P. lunzi is currently being assessed by re-sampling of a population on a hammock island. During each sampling event, post-orbital carapace length, sex, and reproductive state are recorded. Hourly measurements of temperature and salinity are also being recorded at the study location. A total of 50 crayfish have been sampled in December 2017 and February 2018 (30 females, 20 Form II males, and 0 Form I males) and salinities ranged from 3 to 6 psu. Although it is unclear how increased salinity affects fitness of these species, the findings in this study (high survivorship of Procambarus in high-salinity laboratory conditions and the collection of Procambarus lunzi from mesohaline wetlands), suggest that Procambarus is able to survive extended periods of increased salinities.



Day: 3, Session: 4, Talk: 3

Epigenetic Regulation in the Marbled Crayfish

VITOR COUTINHO CARNEIRO, Anny Gatzmann, Cassandra Falckenhayn and Frank Lyko

The all-female marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) attracted the attention of the scientific community due to its 'self-cloning' capacity. The obligatory parthenogenetic reproduction provided interesting research opportunities and also established a potent ecological threat. Despite its identical DNA, this model has an extraordinary variety in appearance and behaviour between isogenic batchmates reared in the same environment. This suggests that epigenetic mechanisms play a key role in marbled crayfish phenotypic variation. Our group has recently annotated the draft genome of the marbled crayfish, which revealed a conserved, functional and versatile DNA methylation system for epigenetic regulation. We have also used whole-genome bisulfite sequencing, RNA-seq and ATAC-seq for a comprehensive analysis of multiple individuals and tissues. Our results provide a novel concept for how methylation-dependent regulation of gene expression may facilitate the phenotypic adaptation and invasive spread of this animal.



Day: 5, Session: 2, Talk: 3

Impact of Limb Loss via Autotomy and Regeneration on Crayfish Behavior and the Added Effect of Predation.

LUC ARNAUD DUNOYER, Makayla Dean, Jeremy Van Cleve and Ashley Seifert

Through inter and intra-specific interactions crayfish can lose appendages by autotomizing their chelipeds to escape predation or mortality incurred during competition for mates, shelter, or food (Wood and Wood 1932; Bliss 1960; McVean 1982). While autotomy may provide an immediate advantage, regeneration of the lost limb may temporarily limit access to shelter, food, and the ability to find a mate (Kuris and Mager 1975, Sekkelsten 1988, Davenport et al. 1992, Abelló et al. 1994, Smith 1995). We hypothesized that crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) should avoid open exposure during appendage regeneration to avoid interactions where they would be at a competitive disadvantage. A pilot study we conducted showed us that, in a drought situation when no shelter was provided, all unmanipulated crayfish burrowed whereas autotomized crayfish made a depression at best. However, crayfish preferred to hide in a shelter rather than burrowing up to completely avoiding burrowing when missing a cheliped in presence of a shelter. Finally, crayfish spent more time in a shelter when provided one and this was exacerbated by autotomy. Hence, when exposed to conspecific predation cues, crayfish should hide in their burrow, seek available shelters, or leave the water to avoid predators altogether. In addition, crayfish regenerating one of their chelipeds should avoid predators altogether by leaving the water when exposed to conspecific predation cues because they can neither defend themselves efficiently nor efficiently burrow to avoid predation. To test our hypothesis, we proposed to examine the effect of limb autotomy on crayfish behaviors alone or in the presence of simulated predation using a potent chemical cue (i.e., crunched crayfish in water; Gherardi et al. 2011). We used 15-gallon aquaria with a mud bank on one side and a water pool on the other side. We observed crayfish (unmanipulated or autotomized and regenerating) alone or exposed to predator cues for a week at a time. First, burrowing behaviors was monitored daily (number and type: 0 = no burrow, 1 = depression, 2 = burrow, 3 = partial chimney, 4 = chimney). Second, each night was recorded using infrared cameras. Video recordings are used to determine the time spent outside of the water by crayfish overnight (when crayfish are active) as well as the type of behavior in which they engage (walking, resting, or burrowing). We predict a significant effect of regenerative status on crayfish burrowing behavior as measured by less complex burrow morphologies as well as less time spent outside the water for regenerative compared to unmanipulated crayfish. Similarly, we also predict a significant effect of predation cues on crayfish burrowing behavior as measure by more time spent outside the water in presence of crunched conspecific cues in the water. Finally, we predict a significant interaction between regenerative status and predator cues as measured by a behavioral change from regenerative crayfish in presence of crunched conspecific cues in the water (more time spent outside the water) compared to unmanipulated crayfish unexposed to predator cues. At the time of this abstract submission we just started data recording.



Day: 5, Session: 2, Talk: 6

Simultaneous eDNA Monitoring of the Host-pathogen Complex Pacifastacus leniusculus and Aphanomyces astaci Under Varying Environmental Conditions

JOHANNES C. RUSCH, David A. Strand, Charlotte Laurendz, Stein I. Johnsen, Lennart Edsman and Trude Vrålstad

In 2016 the North-American signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus was included in the list of Invasive Alien Species of concern to the European Union. In Norway the species is black-listed and rated as a high-risk species, and eradication has been carried out whenever feasible. This is because it is a chronic carrier of the oomycete Aphanomyces astaci, which is lethal to all European freshwater crayfish species and listed among the 100 worst invasive species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) methodology is now being used on a wide variety of target species and on many different platforms including targeted PCR and broad spectred sequencing methods. Detection and monitoring of invasive, endangered and elusive species is commonly performed using species specific quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) or droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), and has proved useful for targeting species of specific concern. Recently eDNA monitoring of A. astaci has been implemented in the national crayfish plague surveillance in Norway. For the carrier of the crayfish plague, the signal crayfish, a qPCR assay for eDNA detection has also been published recently. In this study, we present simultaneous eDNA monitoring of the host-pathogen complex P. leniusculus - A. astaci under varying environmental conditions both in aquarium and field experiments. We used the published qPCR assays for both species and redesigned them so they can be run as a duplex ddPCR assay. We compared water samples by means of qPCR and ddPCR from two lakes in Sweden and Norway with different signal crayfish population densities and A. astaci prevalence in the population. We also studied eDNA emission from the host-pathogen couple in aquarium-experiments with A. astaci positive signal crayfish held at different densities, temperatures and feeding regimes. Samples were obtained by filtering water (1 & 5 L) on-site through glass fibre filters. These were subsequently analysed using the species-specific qPCR and ddPCR assays for the respective targets. The concentrations of detectable eDNA copies of the two targets are influenced differently and by several factors, including population density of the crayfish, pathogen prevalence, temperature, and turbidity including microbiological activity in the water. They are therefore subject to significant fluctuation. Thus, there seems to be no straightforward correlation between eDNA copy-number and crayfish density and the probability of detecting one target rather than the other varies according to different conditions. Therefore, for a reliable monitoring of crayfish plague (A. astaci) and signal crayfish alone or together, the simultaneous monitoring concept for both targets is recommended.



Day: 5, Session: 3, Talk: 5

A New Technique for Determining Crayfish Population Demographics

JOSHUA MOUSER, Jason Glover and Shannon K. Brewer

Aging organisms provides crucial population demographic information such as growth, recruitment, and mortality. Crustaceans are typically aged via indirect techniques, such as length-frequency histograms and mark recapture. Indirect techniques are limited to the populations and specific study period, do not provide an actual age, and histograms are inaccurate for older age classes with fewer individuals. In contrast, direct techniques rely on calcified structures, but often the individual must be sacrificed. Recent work has demonstrated that the gastric mill, located in the stomach of crustaceans, may be useful for obtaining direct age estimates. Therefore, our objective was to determine if a common North American crayfish species could be reliably aged using gastric mill ossicles. We collected approximately 100 adult and 300 age-0 (<13 mm carapace length) ringed crayfish Faxonius neglectus from streams in the Ozark Highlands ecoregion. Gastric mills were extracted from the crayfish, separated, cleaned, sectioned, and mounted on a microscope slide. Each crayfish was aged independently by three different readers and a consensus age was reached if there were discrepancies. For a subset of individuals, two readers aged each ossicle independently to determine which ossicle provided the most consistent age estimates. We compared length-frequency histograms from field collections to our direct age estimates. All three ossicles showed consistent growth bands, but the zygocardiac and mesocardiac ossicles had superior readability. Crayfish age estimates ranged from zero to ten years, whereas the length-frequency histograms suggested eight year classes. Our age estimates did not match length-frequency histograms well, especially after year 4. Independent age estimates from each of the paired zygocardiac ossicles were similar. Our results suggest that ringed crayfish may live to be much older than five years as generally accepted, and aging crayfish directly may improve the age bias reflected in histograms. Future work will focus on validating that bands correspond to one year of growth, environmental effects on band deposition, and if daily bands are deposited in age-0 crayfish.


Poster Presentations




An Assessment of Cambarus spicatus, Broad River Spiny Crayfish

RILEY W. AULICK and Zachary J. Loughman

The Broad River Spiny crayfish, Cambarus spicatus, is endemic to the Broad River and some of its tributaries. Few life history studies of C. spicatus have caused the IUCN to list it as data deficient. The goal of this study was to determine the impacts of land development on the distribution of C. spicatus. In the summer of the 2017, the West Liberty University Crayfish Conservation Research Lab surveyed the Catawba watershed in North Carolina and the Broad and Saluda watersheds in South Carolina in search of C. spicatus. A standard protocol of ten seine hauls per riffle was implemented in one hundred and twenty-three streams. Dip nets were used in addition to seines to survey the banks of the streams. ArcMap, an application of ArcGIS, was utilized by adding layers such as land cover and a buffer around each collection area which provided land type percentages for each survey site. Six individuals from four sites in North Carolina and one individual from South Carolina were collected out of a total of one-hundred and twenty-three sites. According to the models, C. spicatus was least likely to be found in areas developed for agriculture and urban development. This study provides strong evidence that land development is negatively impacting C. spicatus distribution. Additional studies are needed throughout the species range to make a final determination that land development has a negative impact on C. spicatus.




Exploring the Limit and Beyond of Hypoxia: Behavioural-driven Conservation of an Ancestral Legacy of Freshwater Crayfish

LUCIAN PÂRVULESCU, Adrian Neculae, Eva Kaslik, Claudia Zaharia, Zanethia Barnett, Marcelo M. Dalosto, James M. Furse, Tadashi Kawai, Sandro Santos and Ovidiu I. Sîrbu

Freshwater crayfish burrowing is not simply sheltering, but an active and conscious behavior in which the animal invests considerable time and energy. As aerobic organisms, crayfish are often recorded as being related to high levels of dissolved oxygen. Approaches considering the in-burrow requirements of oxygen are scarce. We monitored the respiratory behavior and survival under acute hypoxia under controlled conditions in the laboratory of ten ecologically and phylogenetically dissimilar species of crayfish from different geographical locations (5 species of Cambaridae, 3 of Astacidae and 2 of Parastacidae). We found that primary burrowing species (Parastacus brasiliensis and Cambarus striatus) cannot tolerate severe hypoxia, whereas secondary and tertiary burrowing species (Faxonius limosus, F. etnieri, Procambarus vioscai, Cambaroides japonicus, Austropotamobius torrentium, Astacus leptodactylus, A. astacus and Cherax quadricarinatus) were not only able to withstand prolonged anoxia, but also able to remain active for up to 40 hours after reaching zero-oxygen conditions. Using nonlinear regression tools applied to the available experimental data, we estimated the critical values of the dissolved oxygen levels which characterize the transition from aerobic to anaerobic respiration for each species found tolerating the anoxia. Based on the diffusion-convection transport and the experimentally determined oxygen consumption function, we developed a mathematical model describing the time-dependent changes of the dissolved oxygen concentration which takes into account both aerobic and anaerobic respiratory processes for A. leptodactylus and O. limosus in a virtual burrow filled with water. We further validated our models by comparing numerical simulations with laboratory measurements for different geometries of burrows. Excluding a region at the entrance, the mathematical predictions for a normal day-night cycle of a crayfish inside a (virtual) burrow show that the water-dissolved oxygen inside the burrow reaches anoxia levels within hours. We speculate that the ability of crayfish to cope with oxygen shortages might be a phylogenetic legacy from their ancestors, lobsters, known to encounter low levels of oxygen in deep waters. Most probably, the primary burrowing species lost this ability since the oxygen diffusion is much faster in fossorial burrows, and thus leading to weaker conservation of the specific mechanisms during evolution. These results challenge the current behavioral and physiological knowledge of crayfish, and might drive new perspectives on the ecology, conservation and even evolutionary processes.




Influence of Climate Warming on the Ecological Impacts of Invasive Crayfishes

VICTORIA CHICATUN and Anthony Ricciardi

Aquatic systems in temperate regions are particularly sensitive to temperature change, which can cause seasonal stress for cold-water adapted species and hospitable conditions for warm-water invaders. Altered thermal regimes may mediate the ecological impacts of non-native species by affecting their abundance and per capita effects, causing shifts in predator-prey dynamics and competitive dominance over native species. High-impact invaders tend to exhibit higher functional responses (maximum feeding rates) than functionally-similar native taxa. It has also been shown that individuals' maximum feeding rates are inversely proportional to the deviation from their environmental optima and could potentially be used a performance metric for invasive species across a thermal gradient. My research investigates the effects of water temperature and population latitude on prey consumption and competitive dominance by invasive (Faxonius rusticus) and native (F. virilis) crayfishes in the Great Lakes basin. For this, I have planned a series of lab experiments comparing functional responses and outcomes of competitive interactions across temperatures (based on projected warming scenarios for the lower Great Lakes) to test the prediction that native species will exhibit lower maximum feeding rates than invaders and that increasing temperatures will result in competitive dominance of southern species over northern species.




Analysis of Species-environmental Relationships with Variance Partitioning and Distance-based Moran Eigenvector Maps: Application for Crayfish Distribution and Community Models

WILLIAM R. BUDNICK, Sophia I. Passy and Michael D. Kaller

Advances in numerical ecology have developed robust modeling techniques that can include spatial information in analyses of species-environmental relationships. We demonstrate how variance partitioning and distance-based Moran eigenvector maps (dbMEM) can determine which spatial scales that environmental factors structure crayfish communities and distributions. We sampled 56 streams from 5 major Louisiana river drainages from 2013-2014. Variance partitioning with redundancy analyses of environmental factors and geographic spatial distances produced a poor model fit and great environmental-spatial covariance, which confounded interpretation. However, including orthogonal spatial variables obtained from dbMEM not only improved model fits, but elucidated which environmental variables constrained community composition across spatial scales, namely among drainages (broad scale), within drainages (intermediate scale) and within stream (small scale). Presence of sand, specific conductance, and stream depth were important community drivers across scales, but presence of clay and grassy banks were more locally important. Temperature, a climatic factor, was important at broad scales. Our methods provided valuable insight into the relevant scales of environmental influence on crayfish and it is our hope that we see wider adoption of these methods for future work.




Dispersal and a Large River: Patterns of Genetic Diversity in an Imperiled, Small-stream Adapted Crayfish, Cambarus pristinus

BROOKE A. GRUBB, John W. Johansen and Rebecca E. Blanton

Crayfishes are a diverse group of freshwater decapods. Many North American crayfishes have small geographic ranges and are considered imperiled due to a variety of factors that threaten their persistence. Several factors, including fragmented habitats and corridor quality, affect dispersal ability and gene flow. Decreases in gene flow among populations can contribute to increasing genetic drift and inbreeding depression, which leads to a loss of genetic variability within populations and can reduce the adaptive potential of a species. Cambarus pristinus (Pristine Crayfish) has a small range on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, where it occupies small tributaries of the Caney Fork River and lower order (<4th) reaches of the mainstem Caney Fork. Because the majority of the mainstem is larger than 4th order, it may limit dispersal and gene flow among populations of the different tributary systems. To examine contemporary and historic levels of genetic structure across the Caney Fork River mainstem, chelae from 20-30 individuals from two localities in each tributary will be collected. DNA extracted from the muscle of the chelae will be used to examine patterns of genetic structure using 20 microsatellite loci amplified from species-specific primers and the mitochondrial COI gene. Preliminary data summarizing progress on microsatellite primer optimization and locus identification and genetic structure among populations based on the COI gene will be presented and discussed.

Oral Presentations from IAA22

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