Successful recruitment, survival and long-term persistence of eastern oyster and hooked mussel on a subtidal, artificial restoration reef system in Chesapeake Bay
|Author(s)||Lipcius Romuald1, Burke Russell2|
|Affiliation(s)||1 : Virginia Institute of Marine Science, USA
2 : Christopher Newport University, USA
|Keyword(s)||eastern oyster, oyster restoration, artificial reef|
Restoration efforts with native eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, in Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere have been limited by shell availability, necessitating the use of alternative structures as subtidal reefs, yet these have rarely been evaluated quantitatively. We quantified population structure, density, abundance and biomass of eastern oyster and hooked mussel, Ischadium recurvum, on a concrete modular reef (75 m2 surface area over 5 m2 of river bottom) deployed subtidally at 7 m depth in the Rappahannock River, Virginia during October, 2000. After nearly 5 y (May 2005), we took 120 stratified random samples over the reef. The reef was heavily colonized by 28-168 oysters and 14-2177 mussels m-2 surface area. These densities translate to 1085 oysters and 8617 mussels m-2 river bottom, which are the highest recorded for artificial oyster reefs. Size structure of oysters reflected four year classes, with over half of oysters more than 1 y old and of reproductive age. Oyster biomass (1663 g dry mass m-2 river bottom) and condition index were equally high, whereas parasite prevalence and intensity were low. Oyster density correlated positively in a sigmoid fashion with mussel density up to high densities, then declined. This modular reef is one of the most successful artificial reefs for eastern oyster and hooked mussel restoration, and details features that are conducive for successful settlement, growth and survival in subtidal habitats.