Hitching a ride on Hercules: fatal epibiosis drives ecosystem change from mud banks to oyster reefs

McLeod, Ian M., Heller-Wagner, Gideon, Gillies, Chris, Boström-Einarsson, Lisa, and Dwyer, Patrick G. (2020) Hitching a ride on Hercules: fatal epibiosis drives ecosystem change from mud banks to oyster reefs. Ecology, 101 (6). e03032.

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Abstract

[Excerpt] Best known as a "love them or hate them" luxury food, or for their pearls, oysters are also ecosystem engineers, forming vast oyster reefs. Oyster reefs provide habitat for a myriad of species, and support fisheries, improve water quality and provide coastal protection. These services are estimated to be worth US$5,500–$99,000 per hectare per year (Grabowski et al. 2012). Globally, oyster reefs have declined by 85% through destructive overfishing, coastal development, pollution, and introduced competitors, predators and diseases (Beck et al. 2011). Active restoration is becoming an increasingly popular tool to bring back lost oyster reefs and the ecosystem services they provide (Fitzsimons et al. 2019). However, restoration is not always successful, and knowledge about how reefs naturally form and function is vital to improve restoration success. Oyster larvae only settle on hard substrates. Reefs proliferate because oyster shells provide a settlement surface, and oysters provide chemical and sound cues that facilitate larval settlement (Lillis et al. 2013). However, these reefs often form on intertidal sand and mud banks. This raises the question, how do oyster reefs form on mud banks in the absence of hard surfaces?

Item ID: 65292
Item Type: Article (Short Note)
ISSN: 1939-9170
Copyright Information: © 2020 by the Ecological Society of America.
Funders: National Environmental Science Program (NESP)
Projects and Grants: NSEP Marine Biodiversity Hub. Grant Number: B4
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2021 01:59
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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