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Testing the effect of habitat structure and complexity on nekton assemblages using experimental oyster reefs

Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
By:
, , , and
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2011.08.017

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Abstract

Structurally complex habitats are often associated with more diverse and abundant species assemblages in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Biogenic reefs formed by the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) are complex in nature and are recognized for their potential habitat value in estuarine systems along the US Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Few studies, however, have examined the response of nekton to structural complexity within oyster reefs. We used a quantitative sampling technique to examine how the presence and complexity of experimental oyster reefs influence the abundance, biomass, and distribution of nekton by sampling reefs 4 months and 16 months post-construction. Experimental oyster reefs were colonized immediately by resident fishes and decapod crustaceans, and reefs supported a distinct nekton assemblage compared to mud-bottom habitat. Neither increased reef complexity, nor age of the experimental reef resulted in further changes in nekton assemblages or increases in nekton abundance or diversity. The presence of oyster reefs per se was the most important factor determining nekton usage.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Testing the effect of habitat structure and complexity on nekton assemblages using experimental oyster reefs
Series title:
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
DOI:
10.1016/j.jembe.2011.08.017
Volume:
409
Issue:
1-2
Year Published:
2011
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Publisher location:
Amsterdam
Contributing office(s):
Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description:
8 p.
First page:
172
Last page:
179
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N