, Volume 743, Issue 1, pp 309–319 | Cite as

Effects of environmental hypoxia on population characteristics of red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii in the Atchafalaya River Basin, Louisiana

  • Christopher P. Bonvillain
  • D. Allen Rutherford
  • William E. Kelso
Primary Research Paper


Spatial and temporal heterogeneity in Atchafalaya River Basin (ARB) physical and chemical characteristics are associated with floodplain inundation and rising water temperatures, resulting in extensive areas of the ARB that experience hypoxia (dissolved oxygen [DO] ≤2.0 mg/L) for several weeks to months throughout the annual flood pulse. Although red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii can tolerate relatively low DO concentrations, effects of chronic hypoxic exposure on wild populations have not been extensively studied. Here we compare population characteristics of P. clarkii from normoxic and chronically hypoxic locations in the southeastern ARB that were sampled semi-monthly during the 2008 and 2009 crayfish harvest periods. Carapace length and catch per unit effort (CPUE) of P. clarkii from normoxic and hypoxic locations were similar prior to hypoxia development during both sample years. Hypoxia developed when mean water temperature reached 20°C, and diurnal DO concentrations at hypoxic locations remained below 2.0 mg/L on every sample date during the period of environmental hypoxia. During this period in both sample years, P. clarkii at hypoxic locations had a significantly smaller mean carapace length and mean CPUE was lower on every sample date.


Crustacea Dissolved oxygen Flood pulse River floodplain Swamp Water quality 



We thank Thorpe Halloran, Raynie Harlan, Jason Hughes, Johnny Meche, Alex Perret, Adam Piehler, and Will Sheftall for field assistance and Catherine Murphy for statistical advice. This manuscript was approved for publication by the director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station as manuscript 14-241-15604.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher P. Bonvillain
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Allen Rutherford
    • 1
  • William E. Kelso
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Renewable Natural ResourcesLouisiana State University Agricultural CenterBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesNicholls State UniversityThibodauxUSA

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