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Abstract Detail


Ecological Section

Plutchak, Rochelle [1], Foster, C. Drew [1], Anton, Andrea [1], Sheehan, Kate [2], Goff, Josh [3], Cebrian, Just [1], Major, Kelly [2].

Algal Productivity and Community Structure: Indicators of Artificial Oyster Reef Function.

A concerted effort has been made to restore and/or rehabilitate habitats lost to the negative impacts of human activities on estuarine and coastal ecosystems. To date, the success or failure of oyster reef restoration efforts has been primarily based upon assessments of “animal” abundance (i.e., recruitment success of oysters, crabs and economically important finfish), water quality and/or productivity of surrounding grass beds. Herein, we report preliminary results from year two of a novel, interdisciplinary project designed to evaluate artificial oyster reef function. Study sites are located in six tidal creeks around Dauphin Island and Little Dauphin Island, AL; each of three experimental sites (cultch + oysters) is paired with a control site (no cultch – no oysters). Coincident with samplings for infauna, invertebrates and fish, estimates of microphytobenthic community structure, abundance and productivity are collected from the water column, sediments and in association with artificial oyster reef structures. Together with biological data, we are also monitoring changes in temperature, irradiance, attenuation, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen and both inorganic and organic nutrient levels. Our first estimates indicate that the benthic community is very productive relative to that of the water column throughout much of the year, achieving net photosynthetic rates of 0.50 cf. 0.15 mg O2 L-1 h-1, respectively. Furthermore, the algal communities, characteristic of these tidal creeks, exhibit an impressive resilience and are able to rapidly recover (i.e., within days to weeks) from acute environmental disturbances (e.g., the major hurricane events, Ivan and Katrina).


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1 - University of South Alabama, Marine Sciences, 307 University Blvd. North, Mobile, Alabama, 36688, USA
2 - University of South Alabama, Biological Sciences, Life Sciences Bldg. #124, 307 University Blvd. North, Mobile, Alabama, 36688, USA
3 - Dauphin Island Sea Lab, 101 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, Alabama, 36528, USA

Keywords:
ecology
oyster restoration
Algal Physiology.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 35-11
Location: 266/Holt
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 11:00 AM
Abstract ID:783


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