|We would like to introduce Shannon Mendt, a Masters student from Thompson Rivers University who is here for her second summer in a row. Shannon and her supervisor (Dr. Louis Gosselin) are investigating the effect that energy reserves have on the mortality of intertidal invertebrates during the beginning stage of their life. She is being assisted by Anna Skurikhina, Thomspon River University graduate.
“Many intertidal invertebrates, such as barnacles, snails, seastars, and crabs experience dramatic (up to 90%!) mortality in the very early stages of juvenile life. This high level of mortality has a large influence on the overall abundance and distributions of their adult populations. Many potential causes of this mortality have been studied, but the most significant factors are those linked to environmental stressors, such as increases in temperature and risk of desiccation (i.e. drying out). However, juvenile mortality is highly variable, not only between species, but among individuals of the same species. There is evidence that animal’s energy reserves at the beginning of juvenile life may play an important role in determining which individuals survive, and which die. The aim of my project is to determine to what extent energy reserves play a role both directly in morality and in tolerance to environmental stressors during the early benthic phase. Surprisingly, my research indicates that for some species, size of energy reserve does not have a significant effect on survivorship. These findings may force us to rethink current hypotheses about the role of energy on early juvenile mortality in intertidal invertebrates.”Shannon is also the local rep for the grad kayaks, so if you’re interested in going for a paddle – introduce yourself and say hello!