Crassostrea virginica, the eastern oyster, is a native keystone species that inhabits many coastal and estuarine ecosystems along the Atlantic seaboard. Introduction of the eastern oyster into estuarine areas with limited current populations is gaining popularity as a pro-active approach to improve estuarine water quality. In November 2014 and April 2015, a total of five pilot oyster reef treatments were deployed in Brevard County: bagged adult oysters (grown by community members under their docks through oyster gardening) collected in fall 2014 and spring 2015, bagged clean shell, oyster restoration mats, and empty plots (control). Locations of deployment included a Merritt Island impoundment (Marsh Harbor), Nicol Park (Port St. John), and Scout Island (Melbourne Beach). Prior to deployment, we collected morphometric data (shell length, weight) on all gardened oysters. Abiotic factors including salinity, air and water temperature, and wind speed were collected monthly. During quarterly sampling at each site, morphometric data were collected for all live oysters, surviving and newly recruited. Results show survival of gardened oysters and natural recruitment differed by and depended greatly on the within-site location of each reef. In areas with no recruitment and limited gardened oyster survival, regular deployment of gardened oysters is needed for long term success. In areas with natural recruitment, bagged, clean shell or oyster restoration mats are most successful. Future restoration sites should be tested prior to any large-scale oyster deployments.
Walters, Linda J.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Orlando (Main) Campus
Anderson, Lacie, "Quantifying The Success Of Eastern Oyster Pilot Reefs In Brevard County, Florida" (2016). Honors in the Major Theses. 59.