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Long island sound lobster die off



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  • 1. Long Island Sound Lobster Die-Off The Perfect Storm of Factors Contributing to the Demise of A Major Shell fishing Industry on Long Island
  • 2. Lobster Background
    • Lobsters are Crustaceans, in the Phylum Arthropoda (insects)
    • Lobsters are benthic and breathe through gills.
    • Lobsters prefer temperatures of 20-21 º C (68-70 º F)
    • Lobsters are scavengers, who live in rock holes & crevasses in the seafloor
    Lobsters take 7 years to mature
  • 3. Limiting Factors Play a Role
    • Oxygen is at times limited in prime lobster habitat.
      • Can you think of when & why this might be?
    • Temperature is at times limited in prime lobster habitat.
      • Can you think of when & why this might be?
  • 4. Where do you think scavengers frequently find themselves when they’re scavenging for food in the LIS? What might the problem be if you were a lobster caught here  at the wrong time of the year?
  • 5. A Changing Habitat
    • At the time of the Lobster Die-Off in 1999:
      • lobsters had been exposed to the high end of their temperature tolerance for an extended period of time
      • As oxygen levels decreased, anaerobic bacteria took over (giving off ammonia & sulfides)
      • Hurricane Floyd and other storms caused an extremely big jump in runoff from coastal areas (can you guess what “extra” component was in the runoff this year?)
  • 6. Panic!!!! Spray for Mosquitoes!! Where do you think the sprays in coastal areas ended up?
  • 7. What does West Nile Virus (WNV) have to do with Lobsters?
    • In response to public concern about mosquitoes carrying WNV, officials approved of spraying our island with pesticides that were intended to kill the mosquitoes.
    • Unfortunately, pesticides don’t just seek out their intended target and then disappear.
    • Mosquitoes were not the only Arthropods impacted by the sprays we used
  • 8. Environmental & Economic Implications
    • Hundreds of thousands of dead lobsters
    • Millions of dollars in losses to the lobster fishing families
  • 9. What dead lobsters have in common-studies done show. . . Shell Disease Paramoebas
  • 10. Further Reading
    • NY Times article: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res =940DE7DE123AF934A25753C1A9629C8B63&pagewanted=1