The variability in the supply of pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus duorarum) postlarvae and the transport mechanisms of planktonic stages were investigated with field data and simulations of transport. Postlarvae entering the nursery grounds of Florida Bay were collected for three consecutive years at channels that connect the Bay with the Gulf of Mexico, and in channels of the Middle Florida Keys that connect the southeastern margin of the Bay with the Atlantic Ocean. The influx of postlarvae in the Middle Florida Keys was low in magnitude and varied seasonally and among years. In contrast, the greater postlarval influx occurred at the northwestern border of the Bay, where there was a strong seasonal pattern with peaks in influx from July through September each year. Planktonic stages need to travel up to 150 km eastward between spawning grounds (northeast of Dry Tortugas) and nursery grounds (western Florida Bay) in about 30 days, the estimated time of planktonic development for this species. A Lagrangian trajectory model was developed to estimate the drift of planktonic stages across the SW Florida shelf. The model simulated the maximal distance traveled by planktonic stages under various assumptions of behavior. Simulation results indicated that larvae traveling with the instantaneous current and exhibiting a diel behavior travel up to 65 km and 75% of the larvae travel only 30 km. However, the eastward distance traveled increased substantially when a larval response to tides was added to the behavioral variable (distance increased to 200 km and 85% of larvae traveled 150 km). The question is, when during larval development, and where on the shallow SW Florida shelf, does the tidal response become incorporated into the behavior of pink shrimp.
Additional publication details
Variability in supply and cross-shelf transport of pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus duorarum) postlarvae into western Florida Bay