Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



We investigated the effects of spatial scale, ranging from 10’s of meters to several km’s, on the development of oyster populations and other reef-associated organisms during the early stage of reef restoration. Employing a block design, experimental reefs were constructed at four sites in the lower Rappahannock River, VA. We tested the effects of sites (scale ≈ 1 – 10 km), reef sizes (scale ≈ 100 m) and locations within reef (scale ≈ 10 m) on the settlement, survival and growth of oysters and on the abundance, biomass, species richness and diversity of developing communities utilizing the reefs.

The project provides descriptive data about the developing reefs, both in terms of their physical characteristics and the early succession of species to colonize the reefs. We test numerous hypotheses related to temporal and spatial development of the reefs, and we explore some of the relationships between the development of oyster populations, the abundance and biomass of other species, and the species richness and diversity of reef- associate fauna. We also pose and test several specific a priori hypotheses related to the effects of scale on the development of oyster populations and reef communities



Oyster reefs, restoration, Rappahannock River Virginia



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