Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Eighteen native oyster reefs (16-m2 each) were restored using six oyster densities (0, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 250 adult oysters m-2) with three replicates of each density at an intertidal site in The Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Coast Reserve. Reef construction was successful and continues to provide a range of oyster biomass densities useful for exploring relationships between oyster reef structural and functional parameters. Between April 2012 and July 2013, a science-based monitoring program explored quantitative relationships between structural and functional characteristics of these restored reefs. Structural parameters examined included oyster abundance, oyster size/biomass, surface shell volume, reef topographic complexity and sediment characteristics. Functional parameters included denitrification rates and macrofaunal abundance and biomass. Relationships between reef structural parameters and functional parameters were complex and variable. As of July 2014, these reefs continue to serves as a platform for continued studies of the relationships between reef structural and functional characteristics.


Hillcrest Oyster Sanctuary, Virginia Coast Reserve



Oysters. Oyster culture--Virginia. Restoration ecology--Virginia.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


The Nature Conservancy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Community Restoration Program



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