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EASTERN OYSTER: A Common Estuarine Invertebrate that Sparked the Birth of Texas A&Ms Oceanography Department By Sammy Ray Photo: www.chesapeakebay.net.

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Presentation on theme: "EASTERN OYSTER: A Common Estuarine Invertebrate that Sparked the Birth of Texas A&Ms Oceanography Department By Sammy Ray Photo: www.chesapeakebay.net."— Presentation transcript:

1 EASTERN OYSTER: A Common Estuarine Invertebrate that Sparked the Birth of Texas A&Ms Oceanography Department By Sammy Ray Photo: www.chesapeakebay.net

2 In late 1946 and early 1947… Louisiana oystermen sued major oil companies and Freeport Sulfur Company for alleged damages to the oyster industry. Allegation: Petroleum operations in Louisiana coastal waters such as channel dredging, seismic procedures, direct disposal of production water and loss of crude oil, etc, caused an estimated loss of 30 – 40 million dollars to the Louisiana oyster industry. Photo: http://ibistro.dos.state.fl.us

3 Four major groups were rapidly organized to gather scientific information to either support or refute the allegations. Photos: www.stat.tamu.edu, www.louisiana.gov, www. piddleport.com, www.scripophily.comwww.stat.tamu.eduwww.louisiana.gov Texas A&M Research Foundation, Project 9: supported by most major oil companies Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department: supported by Louisiana oystermen Ocean Springs, MS, Research Laboratory: supported by Freeport Sulfur Co. Gulf Oil Company: Gulf chose to conduct its own investigations rather than join the Project 9 group

4 The Major Personnel of Each Group Project 9 A. J. Jackula – Director, TAMRF Sewell Hopkins – Director, Project 9 John Mackin – Senior Scientist Winston Menzel – Senior Scientist Judy Davis – Administrative Assistant Field Laboratory, Grand Isle, LA John Mackin – Leader James Boswell Fred Cauthron Edward Shrader Mr. Prokof (microbiologist) Various projects were contracted to various marine facilities on the East and Gulf coasts. The results of many of these studies are presented in a major publication by Mackin and Hopkins (Mackin, J.G. and S.H. Hopkins. 1961. Studies on oysters in relation to the oil industry. Publications of the Institute of MarineScience. 7:1-139.) Photo: www.stat.tamu.eduwww.stat.tamu.edu

5 Some of the individuals involved in contract projects: Victor Sprague (LSU), Robert Lunz (SC), Professor Lund (UT), Gordon Gunter (UT) Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Dept. James McConnell – Director Nelson Gowanlock – Chief Scientist H. Malcolm Owen – Project Leader Robert Ingle – Pensacola Leader Lester Walters William Talbert Freeport Sulfur Company A. E. Hopkins – Project Leader Robert Hofstter - Intern Gulf Oil Company Albert Collier – Project Leader Field Laboratory (Houseboat in Grand Bay, LA) Joe Bell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, Pensacola, FL Sammy Ray – Biologist Wayne Magnitzsky - Chemist Photo: www.louisiana.gov, www. piddleport.com, www.scripophily.comwww.louisiana.gov

6 Results After about two years of intensive study of effect of oil and oil fractions on oyster physiology and mortality, and as I recall an expenditure of about $2 Million by Project 9, both sides began to consider biological agents as the cause for the unusual oyster mortality in Louisiana. The leading candidates: oyster drills (Thais), mud worms (Polydora), Nematopsis (sporozoan parasite) and a yet-undescribed protistan parasite. Photo: www.jaxshells.org, www.livingclassrooms.org, www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca, web.vims.eduwww.jaxshells.orgwww.livingclassrooms.org

7 Two facts attracted the attention of investigation leaders: The petroleum industry had moved into coastal Louisiana during a severe drought period Oysters died in high numbers in high salinity areas where oil operations were being conducted. On the other hand, oysters appeared to survive well in low salinity areas alongside oil operations. The smoking gun: the undescribed parasite was not present in low salinity areas. Photos: farm1.static.flickr.com, www.mdsg.umd.edu

8 In 1950… Photos: www.btinternet.com, sherpaguides.comwww.btinternet.com With the publication in Science of the description of the paraiste as Dermocystidium marinum, in 1950, by Mackin, Owen and Collier, most of the law suits were either settled out of court or dropped. Mackin, J. G., Owen, H. M., Collier, A. 1950. Preliminary note on the occurrence of a new protistan parasite, Dermocystidium marinum n. sp. in Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin). Science 111, 328-329.


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