Free Research Proposal On A Preliminary Literature Review Was Conducted In Order Write The Attached Research Proposal.

Type of paper: Research Proposal

Topic: Abalone, Water, Sea, Population, Environment, Species, Food, Information

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/16

The dynamics between Strongylocentrotus franciscanus red sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus purple sea urchin and Haliotis cracherodis abalone population is complex, but simple in that they both compete for kelp as food. The proposed research hypothesizes that the optimum proportion of kelp to sea urchins in the environment of the black abalone will slow their extinction. The proposed research can offer data and information so that abalone extinction can be slowed.
Research is needed to find the optimal population density of the kelp and sea urchin to ensure abalone survival is achieved. The appropriate balance between kelp and sea urchins to offer the most benefit to abalone populations can be found experimentally. The optimal density needs to be found in order to avoid further decreases in the abalone population density. “What is the optimum proportion of kelp and sea urchin densities for abalone to maintain a healthy population size?”

Best Conditions for Abalone: Urchins or Kelp Separately
or an Optimum Mix of Urchins and Kelp


1. Introduction
Abalones benefit from both the sea urchins and kelp in the abalone environment; the two species offer different needs that enhance the survival of the abalones (Tutschulte et al. 65). the abalone for the research is the black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii). The research question is “What is the optimum proportion of kelp and sea urchin densities for abalone to maintain a healthy population size?” The research proposes to evaluate if abalone benefit more from living in the same ecosystem with kelp or sea urchins; or if abalone do better with both kelp and sea urchins in the environment. Kelps are beneficial to abalone because they proved food and shelter for the adults. On the other hand research has shown that sea urchins protect juvenile abalone from predators (Burge and Schultz 91).. The problem arises when kelp experiences a population increase, the sea urchin population decreases, and when sea urchins’ population increases, the kelp population decreases (Burge and Schultz 91). Sea urchins act as the protectors for young abalones from predators. Sea urchins are also the main competitors for food of the abalones (Burge and Schultz 91).. The sea urchins and abalone both feed on kelp. Competition for food and space is a problem for increasing abalone population (Burge and Schultz 91).
1.1 Reason for Problem
Over exploitation of the abalone in the form of overharvesting plus anthropogenic devastation of their habitats are the main problems that caused the endangerment of the species Center for Biological Diversity 2006). The ecosystems of the abalone the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) listed black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), 16 U.S.C. § 1531 – 1544 (13). The White Abalone was already listed as endangered. The decreasing black abalone population was recognized before 1985 and finally scientists estimated that the contemporary population was 99 percent less than before exploitation (i). Earlier black abalone population densities were measured at over 120 per m2 (i, 7, & 11).
1.2 Local and Marine Ecology
Abalone fisheries failed in California during the 1980s and 1990s initiating an abalone fisheries moratorium in the state since 1993. Modern day ecologists and biologists are turning to history to learn the best conditions for species to thrive. The strategy is used because the degradation and overexploitation to the world’s fisheries and ecosystems started the problem of “shifting baselines” (Braje, Elrandson, and Rick, 85). The purpose is to restore the living habitats of organisms, especially endanger species, so our ecosystems will remain diverse. The biodiversity of a region is also connected to our food webs so they need to be maintained as well as possible. Therefore, recent research and knowledge from the past helps direct the research.
Kritzer and Sale (2004) explain the concept of metapopulation and how it is used to gain knowledge about extinctions. Levins (1969) original metapopulation model considered each patch holding members of the target population. Each patch was like an ecosystem niche. Each single niche was simplified and the only two variables considered were (a) the target species presence or (b) the targeted species absence. Since 1969, metapopulation models have become more complex.
The data from the proposed experiment can aid the understanding of the local populations of abalone and how to slow the extinction of the population. The data can be a basis for more research for developing a metapopulation model.
2. Methods
The first step of the research is to develop the theoretical and experimental plans in more detail. A literature review must be carried out to learn about other designs for abalone population experiments. A literature review will be carried out using the Science Direct database to find academic peer-reviewed journal articles on prior research on abalones, their habitat and their relationship with kelp and sea urchins. The life cycle of the abalone is topic that will be explored in the literature search. Other sources of information include state and federal government websites that have information and data that is rel3evant to the study. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA's) National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) are a good source for information. South Australia has carried out relevant studies that can help develop the experimental set up (Vanderpeer 2006).
Similar research is very helpful for developing the best technique for carrying out the biological lab experiment. For example, Vanderpeer (2006) carried out lab experiments to learn how to avoid summer die offs of abalone by finding the optimum levels and combinations of nutrition and water temperature in aquaculture systems. The types of information that can be gathered from his research and from other scientists include size of tanks, depth of water, ambient and water temperature, densities of abalone fish population for each tank, tank and fish maintenance and other significant experimental design information.
Tanks and trucks for hauling the fish and water into the laboratory costs and availability need to be assessed. The researcher needs to find what tanks, trucks and lab equipment is available from the university and from the state fisheries department. The tanks, vehicles and equipment that cannot be borrowed from another facility will need to be purchased. Therefore, a budget needs to be worked out. The budget needs to include the glassware, monitoring equipment for monitoring the dissolved oxygen, and computer technology if the items are not available for use. Any of the chemicals that will be used need to be purchased to make sure they are fresh. A decision needs to be made by the researcher whether to collect abalone, sea urchins and kelp from the natural environment to use as the sample or to purchase from farms. The method of collecting or purchasing the marine life and kelp for the researcher can be decided based the comparisons of how the abalone survive and on the amount of money needed for both strategies.
The tanks used in the 3X3 factorial temperature study by Vanderpeer (2006) measured 27 x 17 x 17 cm resulting in a water depth of 12.5. The tank water volume was equal to 5.8 liters. The flow rate was set at approximately 300 to 500 milliliters per minute (Vanderpeer 2006). The equipment used by Vanderpeer (2006) will be used as a guide for the experiment. The abalones in the tanks were feed at the rate of one percent of their body weight per day. Vanderpeer (2006) demonstrated that the rate of food was correct for the sample he used, because no food was found in the water the next day after feeding. Too much food, when food was found in the tank the next day, was greater than two percent of their body weight per day.
The study is based on the quantitative method which is the common methodology used in scientific research. Quantitative methods for ecological biological sampling and the collection of data will be followed. A statistical analysis will be carried out on the data and results to learn the validity of the data. Assessments of resulting measurements will be evaluated with statistical analysis and will also be useful for compiling tables and graphs for the final report. The results will be in a form that can be compared to similar reports and research.
Quantitative methodology takes advantage of techniques that are already well designed in catch and capture operations and methods used to study other fish species in laboratories. A laboratory setting is the best way to run the experiment so the species can be monitored 24 hours a day. Four tanks are needed to for the laboratory experiment.

A control tank with abalone but no kelp or sea urchin

A tank with abalone and sea urchins
A tank with only abalone and kelp
A tank with abalone, kelp and sea urchins
Observations will be made of the effect of sea urchin populations and kelp populations have on each other
Evaluate the best ecosystem companions for abalone
Evaluate the best proportion of sea urchins and kelp (or if it is not a feasible arrangement
3. Expected Results
The hypothesis is that the optimum proportion of kelp to sea urchins in the environment of the black abalone Haliotis cracherodis species of abalone can save them from extinction. The expected results are the numbers of living to dead abalone that are counted under the four scenarios. The control group is expected to act as a measure of the life expectancy of abalone without sea urchins and kelp in the environment. The optimum proportion of kelp (for adult food) and sea urchins (for adolescent protection from predators) is expected to offer higher numbers of abalone than the number in the control group.
The limitation of doing the experiment in the laboratory is that no predators are going to be introduced into the environment. Therefore, the base proportion of optimum kelp to sea urchin populations in the experiment is expected to differ under natural habitat conditions. The sea urchins compete with abalone for kelp because they both eat kelp for nutrition. Kelp in the natural habitat is different than what can be simulated in the lab, but the lab is a good basic starting point for researching the impact of kelp and sea urchins on abalone.
The research is important for the conservation efforts made by scientists, other professionals and environmental activists to save the abalone from extinction. Some insight can be observed about the metapopulation of the abalone species. Society will benefit because biodiversity is vital for the survival of all species including human beings.
5. Implications
The survival of the abalones is questionable at this time. An increase in sea urchins and kelp population densities are beneficial for the abalones survival (Ault, 34), but the optimum population of kelp and sea urchins for black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) needs to be found. The two species are necessary for the survival of the abalones (Ault, 34). Abalone populations are benefited with kelp and sea urchins living in the same ecosystem. The relationships are complicated, because at different development stages in their lifetime abalone benefit more from one than from the other. Kelp is an advantage for adult abalone because it provides shelter and food. On the other hand, sea urchins protect juvenile abalone from predators. The optimum density for sea urchins and kelp to thrive in the conditions need to be explored further. If the densities become too high one of the species might suffer, unless enough detritus is available. The hypothesis assumes that abalone will do better when optimum densities of both sea urchins and kelp, or when only sea urchins or only kelp are available. The costs of materials and running the experiment need to be calculated. And then, funding must be found. The research will add knowledge to the data needed for restoring large populations of abalone into their natural habitats.
6. Works Cited
Ault, Jerald S. Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (pacific Southwest: Black, Green, and Red Abalones. Washington: Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Dept. of Interior, 1985. Print.
Braje, Todd J., Erlandson, Jon M., and Torben C. Rick. Red Abalone, Sea Otters, and Kelp Forest Red Abalone, Sea Otters, and Kelp Forest Ecosystems on Historic Period San Miguel Island, California Chapt. 4, Prehistoric Marine Resource Use in the Indo-Pacific Regions, terra australis 39, 85-96. 2013. Web. 10 March 2015.
Burge, Richard T, and Steven A. Schultz. The Marine Environment in the Vicinity of Diablo Cove with Special Reference to Abalones and Bony Fishes. Sacramento: California Dept. of Fish and Game, 1973. Print.
Center for Biological Diversity. 2006. Petition to list the black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) as threatened or endangered under the endangered species act. Submitted to the United States Secretary of Commerce, 21 December 2006. Web. 10 March 2015.
Kritzer, J. P. and Sale, P. F. Metapopulation ecology in the sea: from Levins' model to marine ecology and fisheries science. Fish and Fisheries, 5:131–140. (2004) Web. 10 March 2015. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2979.2004.00131.x
Levins, R. (1969), "Some demographic and genetic consequences of environmental heterogeneity for biological control", Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America 15: 237–240 Web. 10 March 2015.
Nakazawa, Takefumi. Introducing stage-specific spatial distribution into the Levins metapopulation model. 5, article number 7871, Scientific Reports 2015,
NOAA Fisheries. 2014.
Shepherd, S A. Studies on Southern Australian Abalone (genus Haliotis): Ecology of Five Empatric Species. Adelaide: Dept. of Fisheries, 1970. Print.
Tissot, Brian N. Geographic Variation and Mass Mortality in the Black Abalone: The Roles of Development and Ecology. N.p., 1990. Print.
Tutschulte, Theodore C. The Comparative Ecology of Three Sympatric Abalones. N.p., 1976. Print.
Vandepeer, M. ABALONE AQUACULTURE SUBPROGRAM: Preventing summer mortality of abalone in aquaculture systems by understanding interactions between nutrition and water temperature. FRDC Project No. 2002/200 SARDI Aquatic Sciences Publication No. RD02/0035-2 West Beach, SA: South Australian Research and Development. 1-157. 2006

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