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Quantifying the historic contribution of Olympia oysters to filtration in Pacific coast (USA) estuaries and the implications for restoration objectives
zu Ermgassen, P.S.E.; Gray, M.W.; Langdon, C.J.; Spalding, M.D.; Brumbaugh, R.D. (2013). Quantifying the historic contribution of Olympia oysters to filtration in Pacific coast (USA) estuaries and the implications for restoration objectives. Aquat. Ecol. 47(2): 149-161.
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

    Ecosystems; Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg, 1793) [WoRMS]; Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin, 1791) [WoRMS]; Ostrea lurida Carpenter, 1864 [WoRMS]; Brackish water
Author keywords
    Ecosystem service; Historical ecology

Authors  Top 
  • zu Ermgassen, P.S.E.
  • Gray, M.W.
  • Langdon, C.J.
  • Spalding, M.D.
  • Brumbaugh, R.D.

    The Olympia oyster, Ostrea lurida Carpenter, was formerly widespread in many US Pacific coast estuaries. Following dramatic declines in the late 1800s and early 1900s, this species is now the focus of renewed restoration efforts. Restoration is undertaken for brood stock rehabilitation as well as a range of ecosystem services such as filtration; however, these ecosystem services are as yet poorly quantified. We present the first laboratory measurements of filtration rates (FR) for O. lurida, to which we fit a model of FR as a function of dry tissue weight and water temperature. We find that O. lurida has a FR at optimum temperature similar to previously established means across oyster species at 1 g dry tissue weight (DTW), but lower than many Crassostrea species. We also find that the allometric exponent relating FR to DTW in O. lurida is lower than the previously published mean across oyster species. Based on our derived filtration rates and historical data, we estimate the historic impact of filtration by O. lurida in five Pacific coast estuaries. We find that historic O. lurida populations did not have the capacity to filter the full volume of the estuary within the estuary residence time in any of the estuaries examined. This result is primarily driven by the low water temperatures and the short estuary residence times that typify the Pacific coast. We conclude that, unlike Crassostrea virginica Gmelin on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, the Olympia oyster was not historically a dominant force in regulating seston concentrations at large scales in Pacific coast estuaries. Given the differences in the ecological role and habitat structure of these two oyster species, we recommend that analogies between them be drawn with caution. We discuss the implications of our results for developing restoration objectives.

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