Tuesday 11/3/15: Back in the Field!

On Sunday 11/1/15 I took an early flight out to Seattle for a week of torturing oysters. My goals for the week were to take pictures for size of my juvenile F2 oysters and do an experiment to test for differences in resilience to cold temperature shock.

Over the summer I set juvenile Olympia oysters on PVC tiles and hung them off the dock by the Manchester Research Station at the end of the summer. Unfortunately, one of my stacks of trays fell off the dock a few days after during a crazy storm. They sat on the bottom for a couple of days and then were rescued by a crew that left them sitting on the dock in the hot afternoon sun. Once the hatchery crew realized where they were they quickly put them in a tank, but the stack may have been out of water for a few hours. They were redeployed on 9/10/15 with safety line and haven’t had an issue since.

On 10/14/15 two of the PSRF hatchery crew, Stuart and Laura, pulled up the trays and photographed the tile to get size information. There was a lot of mortality on the stack that had been out of the water, but the other stack had good survival.


Picture taken on 10/14/15 of a tile with Hood Canal juvenile oysters.

Today I pulled up the trays and took pictures of the tiles. It’s exciting to see how much they had grown, even in just 3 weeks!

Picture of Hood Canal oysters taken 11/3/15

Picture of Hood Canal oysters taken 11/3/15

I left the oyster tiles in a large, static tank at ambient temperature and splashed in some live algae. Alice and I also checked on some F2 oysters that were set on cultch at the end of the summer. These were basically leftover larvae after I had enough in my tanks with tiles. As larval production was really ramped down at the end of the summer, I suspect that these are from only a few individuals per population. To get a rough estimate of how many there were per population, I measured out 50 mL of oysters, counted them, and then measured the total volume of oysters.

  • Fidalgo Bay (NF): 215 oysters/50 mL in 450 mL total = 1935 total
  • Oyster Bay (SS): 254/50mL in 250mL total = 1270
  • Hood Canal (HC): 208/50 mL in 325mL total = 1352

At 9:30am we turned on a chiller in one of the outdoor setting tanks and set it to 0degC. I monitored it throughout the day to see how long it took to get to 0.

Degrees C
0 (turned chiller off)

Monday 8/24/15 – Thursday 8/27/15 (Last week of fieldwork!)

Monday 8/24/15

Had a long chat with my advisor, Cathy, about the status of my fieldwork- what data I had collected, what I was leaving behind, plans for a stressor experiment- as well as plans for funding next summer. Puget Sound Restoration Fund has approved me to conduct a common garden experiment next summer with olys from California, Puget Sound, and British Columbia. My hope is to use this rangewide common garden to contextualize the regional-scale one I did this summer.

Tile culling

  • SSA_7: 9
  • SSA_8: 83
  • HCB_1: 160
  • HCB_2: 310
  • HCB_3: 384
  • Took pictures of tiles that were culled last Thursday but didn’t have pictures for.

Growth Rate Experiment

Started taking pictures of larvae from the growth rate experiments conducted earlier in the summer. This was done using an adaptor to attach a phone to the eyepiece of a microscope. Labelling scheme (until I think of a better one) is Population+Replicate_Growth rate experiment (1 or 2)_date sample was taken. Also did live/dead counts of the entire sample.

  • SS3_G1_7/12: 25L/15D
  • SS1_G1_7/12: 57L/8D
  • SS3_G1_7/15: 38L/14D
  • SS2_G1_7/12: 64 L/9D

Tile Set B

  • Cleaned out the tanks from tile set B. Cut off the tiles and randomized them among the wire “cages” in the large tank with the other tiles from Set_A.

Tuesday 8/25/15

Cultch Set

  • SS>450A + SS>450B -> SS> 450B; SS>1000
  • SS_new -> SS>450B; dump
  • HC > 450 ->  HC > 1000
  • HC_new -> HC > 450; dump

Tile culling

  • HC_B_1: 42
  • HC_B_2: 103 from front, 164 from back
  • HC_B_3: 67 front, 42 back
  • HC_B_4: 4
  • HC_B_7: 4 front, 13 back
  • HC_B_8: 12 front, 3 back
  • HC_B_10: 9 back
  • HC_B_11: 1 back
  • HC_B_12: 2 back
  • HC_B_14: 86 front, 5 back
  • SS_B_1: 7 back (none on front)
  • SS_B_2: 4 back (none on front)
  • SS_B_3: 0/3
  • SS_B_7: 0/10
  • SS_B_8: 0/2
  • SS_B_9: 0/5
  • SS_B_10: 0/7
  • SS_B_11: 0/6
  • SS_B_13: 0/1
  • NF_B_1: 0/27
  • NF_B_2: 95/120
  • NF_B_3: 0/13
  • NF_B_4: 77/270
  • NF_B_5: 8/12
  • NF_B_6: 208/92
  • NF_B_7: 0/2
  • NF_B_8: 18/10
  • NF_B_9: 8/19
  • NF_B_10: 70/48
  • NF_B_11: 11/17
  • NF_B_12: 10/27
  • NF_B_13: 1/12
  • NF_B_14: 0/2

Wednesday 8/26/15

  • Dropped off samples and borrowed materials at the Roberts lab.

Thursday 8/27/15

The little oyster babies are leaving the nest for the big open ocean! I started out the day finishing up any culling that was needed. I also looked over previously culled tiles to make sure that at least 1 cm of space was around each oyster.



Steven Roberts came to help with the deployment. While I finished up culling, he made labels for the trays but cutting small PVC pipe into 1 inch pieces and etching numbers onto them. We’re also putting waterproof paper in a tube with the tray number.

12 tiles (4 per population) were attached to each tray with zipties. The populations were ordered in the same way for each section of each tray (NF, HC, SS).

Tray with tiles attached

Tray with tiles attached

Pictures were taken of each tile next to a ruler to measure size at deployment of the oysters.


7 trays were filled up with with tiles. To minimize the effects of location within a stack of trays, we put 4 trays in a stack with a 2′ spacer between the top 2 and bottom 2 trays. An additional tray was used as a cover to keep out predators. We made 2 of these stacks, with an empty tray in Stack 2.

Stack of trays with oyster tiles ready for deployment

Stack of trays with oyster tiles ready for deployment

Order of tiles and trays


The trays were hung of the dock at Manchester by ~20 foot rope. One of the stacks seemed to float (which was odd), so we tied on clam bags with rocks to both stacks.


Setting up for Setters (Monday 7/27/15)

On Monday 7/20/15 and Wednesday 7/22/15 I screened out the “160” tanks over 224 micron screens to see if any larvae were ready to settle. This is the same size class used by the hatchery to separate larvae out to put in their setting system. There were less than 5,000, so I figured that by the next Monday there would be enough to set up my setting system. As a reminder, I’m placing 15 4in x 4in white PVC tiles that have been roughed up on one side in a 100 L larvae lank with the hopes that enough larvae set on the tiles. After a few weeks, I will cull larvae to ~20-30 per tile to avoid overcrowding impacting growth. The benefit of using tiles over large shells or cultch (small ground up shell) is that they are easier to standardize for replicates among groups and provide a flat surface for measuring growth rate. Obviously they aren’t a great representation of nature, but will work well to explore the differences in growth rate among the populations.

Tiles are attached to plastic coated

Tiles are attached to plastic coated “poultry wire” with cable ties


The poultry wire is bent to fit inside a 100 L larvae tank

The poultry wire is bent to fit inside a 100 L larvae tank

Larval tank counts

  • NF_Tank2_160 (224) -> 30,000 to experiment; 41,175 to NF_Tank2_160
  • NF_Tank2_160 (100)
  • NF_Tank1_new (100)
  • NF_Tank1_new (160) -> NF_Tank2_160
  • HC_Tank2_160 (224) -> all 30,000 to experiment
  • HC_Tank2_160 (100)
  • HC_Tank1_new (100)
  • HC_Tank1_new (160) -> HC_Tank2_160
  • SS_Tank2_160 (224) -> 30,000 to experiment; 6,000 to SS_Tank2_160
  • SS_Tank2_160 (100)
  • SS_Tank1_new (100)
  • SS_Tank1_new (160) -> SS_Tank2_160

I had at least 30,000 larvae at 224 microns in each group, so I decided to add 30,000 to each of my tile systems. Ryan Crim at the hatchery recommended I add at least four times as many larvae as I want to set. With 15 tiles per tank and at least 200 larvae per tile (to then be culled to 20), this meant I only needed ~12,000 larvae per tank so 30,000 should be plenty.

For the rest of the larvae from NF and SS that weren’t placed in the setting system, I added them back to their respective “160” tanks to deal with later in the week.

New larvae

There was between 32,000-57,000 larvae from all populations.

Tuesday 7/14/15 – Sunday 7/19/15

Tuesday 7-14-15

Today I primarily checked for new larvae and did a mortality count for the HC tanks (as these had some of the most culling of non-swimmers during the tank cleanings on Monday). I also drilled holes into my 10cmx10cm PVC tiles so that I can tie them on to a plastic coated wire mesh for the settlement stage.

Checking for larvae

  • Some: SS3,HC3,HC1,NF1,SS1,SS2,HC2(?)
  • Lots: NF3

Larval tank counts

  • HC_Tank2_160 (100)
  • HC_Tank1_new (100)
  • HC_Tank1_new (160) -> HC_Tank2_160

Wednesday 7-15-15

S. Roberts came in today to help out with cleaning, counting, and setting up the settlement system. He roughed up one side of the PVC tiles with sandpaper, so as to make that side more preferential to oyster settlement.

Larval tank counts

  • NF_Tank2_160
  • NF_Tank1_new (100)
  • NF_Tank1_new (160) -> NF_Tank2_160
  • HC_Tank2_160
  • HC_Tank1_new
  • HC_Tank1_new (160) -> HC_Tank2_160
  • SS_Tank2_160
  • SS_Tank1_new
  • SS_Tank1_new (160) -> SS_Tank2_160

New larvae

With the extra help today, I decided to do individual counts for each family. There were very few, with none for NF, making me think that the broodstock are winding down.

  • Some: SS3,HC2,HC3,HC4

Growth experiments

  • I took some more samples from the growth rate experiments today for size measurement, and will be taking down the 1st growth experiment on Friday.

Friday 7-17-15

The seawater was shut off for a couple hours today as they were doing some reorganization of the hatchery. I was able to clean and take samples for counting from the larvae tanks before the shut off and then finish the broodstock buckets afterwards. I made sure everyone had enough food during the break by splashing some extra algae in.

Larval tank counts

  • NF_Tank2_160
  • NF_Tank1_new (100)
  • NF_Tank1_new (160) -> NF_Tank2_160
  • HC_Tank2_160
  • HC_Tank1_new
  • HC_Tank1_new (160) -> HC_Tank2_160
  • SS_Tank2_160
  • SS_Tank1_new
  • SS_Tank1_new (160) -> SS_Tank2_160

New larvae

Well I was wrong by thinking that they were all winding down. There was 441,100 larvae from SS and 205,133 from HC, but barely any from NF.

  • Some: SS4,NF1,HC1,HC4
  • Lots: SS3,HC2,HC3,HC5,SS2


Took samples of ~100 larvae from each of the 45 silos in the salinity experiment to do live/dead counts and save for taking pictures. Unfortunately Ryann, the PSRF intern helping me on the salinity project, and I ran out of time so I was just able to do a rough activity estimate (% swimming). I fixed the wells in 10% formalin and left covered in parafilm to look at next week.

Sunday 7/19/15

Came in for a couple hours on my way back from a camping trip in Olympic National Park. Cathy Pfister, my adviser from UChicago, stopped by for a tour of my setup and to catch up on how things are going. With Michael’s help, I also did the water changes for the 2nd growth experiment and the salinity experiment and changed out banjo filters.