Ecology, Economy, and Politics of Resource-Extraction Ecosystems

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Readings for Week 6: Shellfish and Puget Sound

Tuesday, May 7

We begin by moving from aquaculture in general to shellfish in particular, reading about shellfish both as a resource and as a part of an ecosystem. Look first at two selections on shellfish, carrying capacity, and habitat creation: Then read a rather frightening account of what can go wrong, especially when we push productivity at the expense of resilience: In class, we will first go over the logistics of our Saturday field trip, since we want to reserve Thursday's class for our guest speaker. Then we will discuss the following two topics:
  • Carrying capacity: what the concept means and what the dangers of exceeding it might be
  • The nature of resource disasters and their relationship to resilience and carrying capacity

Thursday, May 9

Today we zoom in to Puget Sound, and do some preparation for our Saturday Field Trip.

We begin by looking at parts of Puget Sound Partnership's 2012 State of the Sound Report. It is long and detailed, but contains a lot of useful charts and tables. Please read over the Introduction, and go through Chapter 1, the state of the ecosystem, looking at those vital signs indicators and targets in the sections on water quality, healthy human population, and habitat that are particularly relevant for shellfish production (you should know by now what they are).

In class, we will feature a guest presentation by Professor Glenn van Blaricom on the ecological effects of geoduck farming in Puget Sound. In preparation for the talk, start with Ted Williams's Muddy Waters, a nice journalistic account of the controversy over geoduck farming, and then proceed to the science, in The Washington Sea Grant Geoduck Aquaculture Research Program 2011 Progress report, Then, by 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8 post two good questions you would like to ask Professor van Blaricom about shellfish aquculture and its impact on Puget Sound.