Burrowing isopod (Sphaeroma quoianum)
Portland State University
Center for Lakes and Reservoirs
PO Box 751 - ESR
Portland OR 97207-0751
The Australasian burrowing isopod (Sphaeroma quoianum) was discovered in Coos Bay, Oregon in 1995. After approximately ten years, S. quoianum has become a common member of the intertidal community and appears to be accelerating shoreline erosion. Surveys, density measurements, and a field experiment were conducted to determine the intertidal distribution, density, and substratum preference of this bioeroder within Coos Bay. Results were compared to two Australian embayments (Port Phillip Bay and the Tamar Estuary) to examine how the ecology of S. quoianum differs. In all bays examined, isopod presence was dependent upon salinity and densities varied between substrata (marsh bank, wood, and friable rock). Densities in marsh banks and friable rock were significantly higher within Coos Bay than the Australian embayments surveyed. In experimental trials, S. quoianum greatly preferred wood to other substrata. The wide distribution and high densities S. quoianum attains have clear environmental and economic implications.