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Oyster Reef Restoration and Aquaculture Impacts on Denitrification and the Benthic Community
Ayvazian, S., J. Carey, B. Hancock, S. Brown, AND R. Fulweiler. Oyster Reef Restoration and Aquaculture Impacts on Denitrification and the Benthic Community. Presented at The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) 22nd Biennial Meeting, San Diego, CA, November 03 - 07, 2013.
Human impacts have greatly altered coastal ecosystems through a variety of processes including nutrient enrichment and overfishing. The negative consequences of these actions are well known and include increased macroalgae blooms, low oxygen conditions, and losses of biodiversity. Oyster restoration and oyster aquaculture are two possible mechanisms that might combat these changes. Specifically, oysters are thought to be ‘hot spots’ for reducing biologically reactive nitrogen (N) concentrations through denitrification (the microbial conversion of nitrate to dinitrogen gas). Additionally, oyster restoration and aquaculture may improve the abundance and diversity of nekton and benthic communities by increasing water clarity through filtration and enriching the sediments with pseudofeces. While oyster restoration is actively underway in many coastal systems along the Atlantic seaboard, the restoration methods for Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island coastal salt ponds continue to be developed. Our research is examining in situ rates of benthic denitrification as well as benthic invertebrate and fish diversity in four different environments in a coastal salt pond in Rhode Island. Specifically, we will report summer sediment oxygen demand and N2 gas and inorganic nutrient fluxes across the sediment-water interface at the following sites: oyster reef restoration, rack and bag aquaculture, shell hash, and bare sediments. Additionally, we will compare these in situ rates with other reported in the literature for other temperate shallow ecosystems.
There is great interest in the restoration of oyster reefs within their historical estuarine distribution to mitigate anthropogenically-derived coastal nitrogen (N)-enrichment. This research will examine denitrification rates, and benthic invertebrate and fish diversity in four experimental treatments in Ninigret Pond, Rhode Island.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB
ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION
MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT BRANCH