Effects of stochastic environmental variation on the population dynamics of salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) in Newfoundland and Labrador

Prosser, Jacob T. (2022) Effects of stochastic environmental variation on the population dynamics of salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) in Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis are a marine parasite causing a significant economic burden in salmonid aquaculture. They experience both temperature-dependent growth and salinity-dependent mortality, impacting population dynamics. Many models have explored the effect of static or seasonal environmental conditions on salmon lice population dynamics, yet none have explored the impact of short-term daily environmental fluctuations. I derived a stochastic population model with daily variability in temperature and salinity, where these fluctuations effect population dynamics through temperature-dependent maturation and salinity-dependent mortality changes. I found that increasing variability in salinity slows population growth rates and decreases the logarithmic abundance of adult females, while increasing daily variability in temperature is a poor indicator of population dynamics, which is better predicted by seasonal temperature trends. Under all stochastic environmental scenarios salmon lice populations persisted and grew in Newfoundland, Canada. Population models are a valuable tool in the management of salmon lice and allow for more sustainable aquaculture practices.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/15559
Item ID: 15559
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 63-78)
Keywords: salmon lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, parasites aquaculture, stochastic population model
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: February 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/APRT-PR94
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Lepeophtheirus salmonis--Newfoundland and Labrador; Stochastic processes; Salmon farming--Newfoundland and Labrador

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