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Ecological considerations for oyster restoration: interactions between oyster larvae and reef-associated fauna. Brian B. Barnes*, Mark W. Luckenbach, Peter R. Kingsley-Smith . 120. 90. Commercial oyster landings (millions of pounds). 60. Virginia landings. Maryland landings. 30. 2000.

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Ecological considerations for oyster restoration: interactions between oyster larvae and reef-associated fauna

Brian B. Barnes*, Mark W. Luckenbach, Peter R. Kingsley-Smith

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120

90

Commercial oyster landings (millions of pounds)

60

Virginia landings

Maryland landings

30

2000

1920

1940

1960

1980

1900

1880

Plight of oysters in Chesapeake Bay

Current Crassostrea virginica population levels in Chesapeake Bay are < 1% biomass of those at the start of the last century (Newell, 1988)

chesapeakebay.noaa.gov

supplementing shell substrate
Supplementing shell substrate
  • Shells are limiting to

epibenthic fauna

AND restoration

managers

  • Substrate additions are

often done without

regard for how

substrate colonization

affects oysters

  • Epifaunal interactions research is often conducted using artificial substrates

Shell planting on Rappahannock River

research objectives
Research Objectives
  • Investigate the effects of single-species epifaunal populations on the recruitment of oyster larvae using natural substrates
  • Effect of water soluble cues
  • Effect of clamworms (Neanthes succinea)
collection sites

Rappahannock River site

a

Pungoteague Creek site

VIMS ESL

b

Collection sites

b

a

Images from maps.google.com

experimental treatments
Experimental treatments

Membranipora tenuis

No fouling

Cliona sp.

Balanus improvisus

Barnacle Mould

Dead Barnacle

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Microcosm design – Effect of epifauna

~ 75 larvae

50 ml adult oyster bathwater

Test shell

(~3 cm x ~3 cm)

Combusted very fine sand (63 – 125 μm)

4.3 cm

5.7 cm

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Overall layout

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Microcosm design – Effect of bathwaters

~ 75 larvae

50 ml adult bathwater

4.3 cm

5.7 cm

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Results – Bathwater experiments

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conclusions
Conclusions
  • No clear differences between C. virginica and

C. ariakensis larvae

  • Balanus improvisus presence likely affects settling oyster larvae
    • Increased structure likely not important
    • Water soluble cue causes mortality, increased settlement
  • Membranipora tenuis largely inert to mortality and settlement rate of oyster larvae
  • Cliona sp. causes mortality to oyster larvae and deters settlement
conclusions continued
Conclusions (continued)
  • Clamworms (Neanthes succinea) are voracious predators on oyster larvae; their bathwater also causes mortality
    • Average predation rate = ~11 larvae day-1 worm-1
    • Field population abundance = ~10,000 clamworms m-2
  • Oyster bathwater causes mortality to conspecifics
    • Effect significant after 2 days
  • Reef-associated invertebrates certainly influence settling oyster larvae
    • Effect is not uniform or easily predictable
    • Interactions should inform the location and timing of shell planting projects
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • VIMS – Eastern Shore Lab
    • Steph Bonniwell, Lynn Walker, Heather Harwell, Edward Smith, Roshell Brown, Alan Birch, Sean Fate, Reade Bonniwell, Al Curry, Jamie Wheatley, Linda Ward, Summer Aides
  • VIMS – Gloucester Point
    • Roger Mann, John Brubaker, Missy Southworth, Juli Harding,

Peter van Veld

  • UMD – CBL
    • Mario Tamburri
  • Funding
    • Kelley Watson Fellowship, Eastern Shore Lab Research Grants, GSA Mini-Grant, VIMS Assistantship