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Estimating the impact of oyster restoration scenarios on transient fish production

January 1, 2017

Oyster reef restoration projects are increasing in number both to enhance oyster density and to retain valuable ecosystem services provided by oyster reefs. Although some oyster restoration projects have demonstrated success by increasing density and biomass of transient fish, it still remains a challenge to quantify the effects of oyster restoration on transient fish communities. We developed a bioenergetics model to assess the impact of selected oyster reef restoration scenarios on associated transient fish species. We used the model to analyze the impact of changes in (1) oyster population carrying capacity; (2) oyster population growth rate; and (3) diet preference of transient fish on oyster reef development and associated transient fish species. Our model results indicate that resident fish biomass is directly affected by oyster restoration and oyster biomass, and oyster restoration can have cascading impacts on transient fish biomass. Furthermore, the results highlight the importance of a favorable oyster population growth rate during early restoration years, as it can lead to rapid increases in mean oyster biomass and biomass of transient fish species. The model also revealed that a transient fish's diet solely dependent on oyster reef-derived prey could limit the biomass of transient fish species, emphasizing the importance of habitat connectivity in estuarine areas to enhance transient fish species biomass. Simple bioenergetics models can be developed to understand the dynamics of a system and make qualitative predictions of management and restoration scenarios.

Publication Year 2017
Title Estimating the impact of oyster restoration scenarios on transient fish production
DOI 10.1111/rec.12498
Authors Elizabeth McCoy, Stuart R. Borrett, Megan K. LaPeyre, Bradley J. Peterson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Restoration Ecology
Index ID 70195017
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta