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The Blue Mud Shrimp Mystery. Newport ,Oregon . Upogebia pugettensis Blue Mud Shrimp. A native species that lives in the mud flats of estuaries in the Pacific Northwest Can grow up to 15 cm (about 6 in). Burrow Dwellers. Mud shrimp live in Y-shaped burrows they create

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The Blue Mud Shrimp Mystery

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upogebia pugettensis blue mud shrimp
Upogebia pugettensis Blue Mud Shrimp

A native species that lives in the mud flats of estuaries in the Pacific Northwest

Can grow up to 15 cm (about 6 in)

burrow dwellers
Burrow Dwellers

Mud shrimp live in Y-shaped burrows they create

The burrows are about 3 feet deep

Many other organisms live with the shrimp in the burrow

They take advantage of the “home” created by the mud shrimp

The other organisms include phytoplankton and clams

blue mud shrimp burrow
Blue Mud Shrimp Burrow

(Quarter shown for size reference)

fish bait
Fish Bait

Mud shrimp are commonly used by the locals as fishing bait, but they are not eaten by people

Mud shrimp eat detritus and phytoplankton

invasive species
Invasive Species

The isopod Orthione griffenis is an invasive species that arrived in the Pacific Northwest from Asia

This isopod is similar to the more familiar pill bug or “rolly-polly”

isopod infection
Isopod Infection

The isopod enters the shrimp’s gill chamber and prevents the shrimp from reproducing by sucking its blood and stealing its nutrients

The shrimp remains alive, but in a zombie-like state

ballast water stowaways
Ballast Water Stowaways

Scientists believe the isopod was introduced to the West Coast by dumping of ballast water of ships

A ballast is a compartment in a boat or ship that holds water. Filling the ballast allows for increased stability of a ship.

A ship will fill its ballast in one area of the world and dump that same water in a different area of the world.

Any organisms within that water are also dumped, introducing a species into a new ecosystem.

population effects
Population Effects

Isopod Population

Blue Mud Shrimp Population

food web example
Food Web Example







Mud Shrimp



critical thinking questions notebook entry
Critical Thinking QuestionsNotebook Entry

Predict the effects of the disappearance of the Blue Mud Shrimp on the ecosystem/food web. Please use at least three complete sentences. 

What are some other possible ways invasive species can be introduced to an area? Please be thorough.

Explain at least one way that an invasive species affects your daily life. (“It doesn’t” is not a correct answer!)

so now what
So Now What?

Scientists are studying invasive species around the world to determine their effects on ecosystems

How can we learn more about the Blue Mud Shrimp and other species affected by the influx of invasive species?

e nvironmental s ample p rocessor
Environmental Sample Processor

ESP is one way that scientists collect bio-data in the field in real time over a sustained period

ESP is a way to remotely collect information about which organisms are present in an aquatic environment

ESP could be used to determine the number of shrimp and isopod larvae present using DNA signatures

esp at work
ESP at Work

Blue – Shrimp

Red – Isopods

Green – Plankton

Pink - Bacteria

ESP Arrays

ESP image showing few shrimp larvae present (blue) and many isopod larvae present (red)