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Sources and Transport Mechanisms of White Shrimp in Southeastern Coastal Waters

PIs: Jackson O. Blanton and Peter G. Verity (Skidaway Inst. of Oceanography, Savannah, GA)  Charles A. Barans and Elizabeth L. Wenner (Marine Resources Research Institute, South Carolina Dept Natural Resources, Charleston, SC)

Support: Georgia Sea Grant and South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium (Project Number R/FS-1).

Timeframe: 9/1/96 - 2/28/02 (complete)

Project Overview:
White shrimp (Penaeus setiferus) and blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) are decapod crustaceans with significant commercial value in Georgia and South Carolina. Both species have a life-history that includes offshore larval development and an estuarine nursery habitat. While they are offshore, larvae embedded in water masses of the inner continental shelf are affected by oceanographic and meteorological processes such as tidal forces, wind stress, bottom friction and buoyancy. These physical forces interact with the behavior and population biology of white shrimp and blue crab larvae to transport the pre-adult stages (postlarvae) from offshore sites to estuarine nurseries. With funding from the Georgia and South Carolina Sea Grant programs, scientists at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and MRRI have been studying how the distributions of postlarval blue crab and white shrimp are influenced by physical processes during their transport through inlets to their nursery grounds. The study was conducted over 5 years at two locations: the North Edisto Inlet in South Carolina and the Ogeechee River in Georgia.

1. Identified wind stress as an important controlling mechanism in the ingress of postlarvae white shrimp.

2. Demonstrated that larvae are supplied to inlets from a narrow zone only 6-km wide bounded by the shore and extending into the alongshore direction.

3. Demonstrated the importance of wind and bottom stress on the resuspension of detrital and benthic diatoms into the water column near tidal inlets.

4. Documented how wind- and tidal-induced currents provide a "nutritional hypodermic" to coastal waters carrying larvae as they enter nursery areas.

5. Derived a three component model to account for the conditions that optimize the ingress of white shrimp post larvae into esturaires.


Kapolnai, A., F. E. Werner, and J. O. Blanton. 1996. Circulation, mixing and exchange processes in the vicinity of tidal inlets: a numerical study. J. Geophys. Res. 101: 14,253-14,268.

Blanton, J. O., J. Amft, and T. Tisue. 1997. Response of a small-scale bottom-attached estuarine plume to wind and tidal dissipation. J. Coastal Res., 13: 349-362.

Verity, P. G., J. O. Blanton, J. Amft, C., Barans, D. Knott, B. Stender, and E. Wenner. 1998. Influences of physical oceanographic processes on chlorophyll distributions in the coastal and estuarine waters of the South Atlantic Bight. J. Mar. Res. 56: 681-711.

Wenner, E., D. Knott, J. Blanton, C. Barans, J. Amft. 1998. Roles of tidal and wind-generated currents in transporting white shrimp (Penaeus setiferus) postlarvae through a South Carolina (USA) inlet. J. Plankton Res. 20: 2333-2356.

Blanton, J., F. Werner, A. Kapolnai, B. Blanton, D. Knott, E. Wenner. 1999. Wind-generated transport of fictitious passive larvae into shallow tidal estuaries. J. Fisheries Oceanography 8(Suppl.2): 210-223. 1999

Blanton, J., J. Amft, R. Luettich, J. Hench, J. Churchill. 1999. Tidal and subtidal fluctuations in temperature, salinity, and pressure for the winter 1996 larval ingress experiment--Beaufort Inlet, NC. J. Fisheries Oceanography 8(Suppl.2): 134-152.

Churchill, J. H., R.B. Forward, R.A. Luettich, J.L. Hench, W.F. Hettler, L.B. Crowder and J.O. Blanton. 1999. Circulation and larval fish transport within a tidally dominated estuary. J. Fisheries Oceanography 8(Suppl.2): 173-189.

Churchill, J.H., J.O. Blanton, J.L. Hench, R.A. Luettich, Jr., F.E. Werner. 1999. Flood tide circulation near Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina: implications for larval recruitment. Estuaries 22(4): 1057-1070.

Blanton, J.O., G. Lin and S.A. Elston. Tidal current asymmetry in shallow estuaries and tidal creeks. Continental Shelf Research (In press)

Seim, H.E., J.O. Blanton, and T.F. Gross. Direct stress measurements in a shallow, sinuous estuary. Continental Shelf Research (In press)

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This page was updated June 27, 2014