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About the DynmO project

Invasive alien species pose a major threat to biodiversity, but some species not only have negative effects but can also be valuable from both a commercial and an ecological perspective. In the DynamO project we aim to develop a model for sustainable management of the invasive Pacific oyster in Sweden.

The invasive Pacific oyster was first discovered in Sweden in 2006 and is now a widespread species in Bohuslän with densities of >1000 oysters per square meter in some places. The species has gradually become established further south along the Swedish west coast, although the densities there are much lower. The species can cause both negative and positive effects on coastal ecosystems but also has a great commercial value, which makes management of the species challenging and complex.

The goal of the DynamO project (2021–2024) is to facilitate the management of marine invasive alien species with a commercial value, and thereby contribute to the fulfillment of both ecological and socio-economic goals in accordance with principles of circular economy and sustainability. The Pacific oyster will be used as a case study where a dynamic management model is developed for different zones along the Swedish west coast (with different densities of oysters) where specific management goals and measures within each zone will be evaluated.

The project will investigate the distribution, tolerance range and dispersal potential of the species into low salinity areas (e g Baltic Sea), evaluate different methods for harvesting oysters in high-density areas and investigate what environmental impact the measures will have. All measures will also be evaluated from an economic cost-benefit perspective. We will also investigate the possibilities of taking advantage of the harvested oysters to create new resources and products, with the aim to create circular flows and enabling an economically sustainable management of the Pacific oysters.

The project will provide important information on the processes affecting the spread of invasive alien species in general, and Pacific oysters, in particular, and will provide a scientific basis for the development of realistic management options. The principles in the model can also be used for other marine invasive species. The outcome from DynamO will help authorities in their work to reduce the negative effects of invasive species on the environment and society while exploiting the benefits of the species. The work in DynamO will also support sustainable development in relation to national and international legislation, national environmental goals, generational goals and Agenda 2030.

The project consists of four work packages:

In this work package we will identify the components to be included in the framework in close collaboration with our reference group and relevant stakeholder groups. We will also produce a synthesis of existing and emerging methods for management including input from stakeholders.

A cost-benefit and cost-efficiency analysis will also be performed for the methods and management strategies that are tested in the project.

In this work package we will explore the reproductive success in, and adaptability to, low salinity environments, similar to the Baltic Sea conditions, to predict future range expansion risks and habitats at risk of invasion. This work will include experimental work and oceanographic trajectory modelling.

In this work package we will explore the southernmost range of Pacific oysters by mapping of geographical distribution and collecting data for doing population modelling. We will also evaluate different management methods suitable for low density areas where the invasion is in an early phase.

The effort required and environmental impact of harvesting in low density areas will be quantified and evaluated.

In this work package we will investigate which management methods are suitable for areas where high densities of oysters are established. We will survey test sites before and after using different harvesting techniques and evaluate environmental impact and efforts required of different methods.

Another part in the project is to look into resource use of the harvested oysters (which come from areas without permits for human consumption). Different potential usage of oyster meat and shell will be explored.

Dybamo project overview
Work packages (WP) research questions (RQs), Hypotheses, and expected results/Deliverables (D) included in the DynamO project. Deliverables are connected to the WPs and not (necessarily) to the RQ numbers.

Work package (WP)

Research question (RQ)

Hypotheses (if applicable)

Expected results / Deliverables (D

WP1: Dynamic management model for Pacific oysters.

RQ1.1 Which components must be included in a dynamic management model and how should the framework be structured to enable strategic decisions related to management of economically important invasive species?

RQ1.2 Which management options are available for the selected components in the proposed framework?

RQ1.3 What are the benefits and costs of different management methods for specific components in the framework?

H1.1 Commercially valuable invasive species can be managed in a cost-efficient way that allows for mitigation of the negative impacts while benefits are optimized.

D1.1 Publication of a dynamic management model for Pacific oysters. In D1.1 the synthesis of the work performed in WP1-4 will be reported in the form of a scientific manuscript to be submitted to Ambio.

D1.2 Final project report including management model and recommendations for monitoring of performed and/or proposed activities. The synthesis of the work performed in WP1-4 will be reported in a popular science report aimed at stakeholders identified in the stakeholder mapping.

WP2: Tools to predict further dispersal of Pacific oysters

RQ2.1 What proportion of Pacific oysters in Swedish waters are able to reproduce successfully in Baltic Sea salinity conditions and does this differ between populations?

RQ2.2 What is the likelihood of range expansion of Pacific oysters into the southern Baltic Sea and which habitats are at risk of invasion?

H2.1 The reproductive success among individuals of Pacific oysters is affected by salinity and varies between populations from low salinity and high salinity areas.

H2.2 Habitats at risk of invasion can be identified using ecological niche modelling and oceanographic trajectory modelling.

D2.1 Publication of recruitment and adaptation potential of Pacific oysters in low salinity areas.

D2.2 Publication of the likelihood of range expansion of Pacific oysters into the Baltic sea including environmental niche modelling and oceanographic trajectory modelling.

WP3: Management options in early invasion stages

RQ3.1 Where is the southernmost range of Pacific oysters and what densities of oysters can be found south of Gothenburg?

RQ3.2 What physical management options are feasible in areas where an invasion is in its early stages?

H3.1 The densities of oysters decrease with decreasing salinity.

H3.2 Manual destruction/harvesting of oysters is a cost-effective measure to manage Pacific oysters in low density areas.

D3.1 Publication of a population model of Pacific oysters along the Swedish coastline with biomass and abundance estimates in different invasion zones. The results from the model will be integrated into the final report.

D3.2 Projections of suitable oyster habitats will be made available to stakeholders in the form of .shp files.

WP4: Management options in permanent invasion stages

RQ4.1: What management options are feasible in areas where an invasion is in its late stages?

RQ4.2: How can oysters harvested outside of designated production areas for aquaculture be utilized as a resource?

H4.1 Negative effects of reef forming Pacific oysters can be mitigated using mechanic harvesting techniques.

H4.2 Wild Pacific oysters can be processed into high-value fish feed

D4.1 Report of potential use of harvested Pacific oysters.

Facts about project

Period: 2021-2024

Budget: 4 MSEK

Research partners: Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Göteborgs Universitet, Universitetet i Agder

Financed by: Naturvårdverket External link, opens in new window. / FORMAS

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