Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Measurements of nutrient exchange were made in restored oyster reefs and creek sediments in 2014 and 2015 in Harris Creek, Maryland, USA. Rates of ammonium, nitrate and di-nitrogen fluxes were much higher in reef environments than in sediments, and rates of oxygen uptake reflected high inputs of biodeposits. The rate of denitrification was related to oyster biomass and oyster numbers. The shallow nature of the restoration allows light to reach the bottom and benthic microalgal photosynthesis affects the net nutrient exchange with the bottom. After several years, oyster restoration has increased denitrification in Harris Creek, though observations in mature upper Choptank restored reefs are higher. The trajectory of increase of the nutrient ecosystem services is positive and will be followed over time.
A final report to: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Chesapeake Bay Office.
Cornwell, J. C., Owens, M. S., & Kellogg, M. L. (2016) Integrated assessment of oyster reef ecosystem services: Quantifying Denitrification Rates and Nutrient Fluxes. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. https://doi.org/10.25773/jdfv-gd71