Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



We evaluated the progress of several oyster restoration efforts of varying ages in three tidal tributaries of Chesapeake Bay, the Rappahannock, the Piankatank and Great Wicomoco rivers. In 2003 and 2004, we determined the density, biomass and size frequency distribution of oyster populations on the reefs during spring, summer and fall. Recruitment of oysters to the reefs was quantified using standardized substrates deployed and retrieved from the reef surfaces on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule from May through November. The prevalence and intensity of the oyster pathogens Perkinsus marinus and Haplosporidium nelsoni in oysters on the reefs was determined from samples taken in October 2004 and compared with values taken from another study on the reefs in October 2003. Additionally, the composition and abundance of other epifaunal community constituents associated each of the reefs were enumerated. We characterized the condition of reef base material by measuring the prevalence of present or past damage by boring sponge (Cliona spp.) and by measuring individual particle sizes. Finally, large-scale reef attributes such as slope and water depth were quantified. Oyster population data were then related to epifaunal community metrics and substrate condition with correlation analyses.



Oyster reefs, restoration, Rappahannock River, Piankatank River, Great Wicomoco River, Virginia



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