We are seeking an intern to work principally in a small-scale hatchery raising adult, juvenile and larval forms of multiple invertebrate species. Currently, there are two species of both mussels, Mytilopsis sallei and Mytella strigata, and barnacles, Amphibalanus improvisus and A. amphitrite, in culture at the lab with the possibility of additional species. The required daily feeding of cultured organisms is a task shared between the current staff on the project and will include independent work on the weekends once a good comfort level has been attained by the intern. Cultured organisms support research projects as described below, focused on marine invertebrate lifecycle biology. The intern will also have the opportunity to work as a member of concurrent long-term field projects including in particular the Mud Crab project and Nearshore project that assess mud crab abundances and predation rates on shrimp in the Rhode River, respectively.
This project will explore how environmental variation affects reproduction in several species of barnacle and mussels in an effort to understand how spawning contributes to marine species invasions. Barnacles and mussels are common biofouling marine invertebrates that are frequently transported to non-native locations on the hulls of ships, making them a key risk for biosecurity. However, since mussels and barnacles are sessile (stay in the same place their whole life), the only way they can invade a novel system is if they spawn, releasing mobile propagules that make their way into port. Spawning in the case of mussels and nauplii release in the case of barnacles, are frequently triggered by changes in environmental conditions such as exposure to air, changing temperature, and food quality and quantity, which will also vary greatly by shipping route. This project will experimentally manipulate these variables in the lab to quantify reproductive output among barnacles and mussels to better predict which shipping routes and ports may be most susceptible to invasion by non-native organisms.