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Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Mark W. Luckenbach, Roger Mann, James A. Wesson

Publication Date


Book Title

Oyster reef habitat restoration : a synopsis and synthesis of approaches ; proceedings from the symposium, Williamsburg, Virginia, April 1995


VIMS Press


Gloucester Point, VA


The oyster industries of Virginia and Maryland were based upon adult and juvenile oysters, and their shells, produced naturally on the reefs of the Chesapeake oyster reef system. Without those reefs the billions of bushels of live oysters and shells taken by humans could neither have been produced naturally nor harvested and the valuable social and economic activities derived therefrom would never have occurred.

The origin and development of the formerly massive, naturally self-renewing Chesapeake reef system were directly associated with the evolution of the Bay. Its destruction can be linked primarily to the increase of humans around the Bay and beyond and their demand for oysters and shells. Both phases, development and destruction, of reef history have occurred during the last three-quarters to twothirds of the post-glacial Holocene period, around 7,000 years or less. more...

The Evolution of the Chesapeake Oyster Reef System During the Holocene Epoch