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Ryan Stanley

Larval dispersal and population connectivity in American lobster

Ryan Stanley
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Hailing from the red shores of Prince Edward Island I have always had a connection with the sea. Whether snorkeling at the beaches in summer or hearing my grandfather’s stories of lobster hauls from yesteryear, the ocean has long been a big part of my life. I have been fortunate to peruse my passion for the ocean and fisheries through a joint honours degree in Aquatic resources and Biology at St. Francis Xavier University, followed by MSc. and PhD. programs at Memorial University of Newfoundland. During this time I have maintained a connection to the ocean and fisheries by working with a variety of commercially valuable species including snow crab, Atlantic cod, and American lobster.

Paul Snelgrove

Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University

09/2009 - present

Population Connectivity, PC-09: Population connectivity and dispersal in contrasting species

Email: rstanley@mun.ca / Twitter: @rystanman

Stanley 4As a member of the CHONe team I am endeavoring to help quantify and re-evaluate biological traits of larval American lobster (Homarus americanus). American lobster represents Canada’s most valuable commercial fishing resource, reporting ~ 40% of the $1.6 billion landed value of the Atlantic Canadian fishery. Much is known of the juvenile and adult lobster life history, however many aspects of larval life remain unresolved. Survival and behaviour during this critical life history phase can have profound impacts on recruitment to the fishery.

My thesis aims to shed new light onto the larval phase of American lobster by:

1. Evaluating the behaviour of larval lobsters and defining how it is influenced by temperature, light and water velocity.

2. Evaluating larval mortality and how it is influenced by temperature, phenotype, and natal origin.

3. Describing variability and pattern in larval phenotype in relation to maternal and natal origin.

4. Providing new assessments of horizontal and vertical behavioural capacity among larval stages.

5. Utilizing behavioural assessments in conjunction with abundances and flow patterns observed in the field, to develop a bio-physical model estimating scales of dispersal and connectivity.

6.  Evaluating how scales of dispersal vary between traditional assumptions of larval biology and new estimates derived from field and laboratory observations.

Insights into biological-physical relationships during early life history stages are necessary to evaluate environmental change effects on marine populations. Moreover, understanding this critical relationship will provide communities and governments a framework in which to optimize monitoring, prediction, and adaptive management protocols in Atlantic Canada.

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