Restoration by Transplantation: Using a Filter-Feeding Gastropod, Crepidula fornicata, to Rehabilitate Great South Bay, New York: Preliminary Surveys

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Coastal biogenic habitats provide a plethora of ecosystem services that enhance the commercial and recreational value of the system. Specifically, shellfish beds play a critical role in improving water quality, creating complex habitat for other commercial species, and serving as a trophic resource for surrounding nutrient-poor habitats. Great South Bay, New York, was historically one of the most productive estuaries in the nation, yet commercial shellfisheries have collapsed here due to overharvest. These filter-feeding shellfish species, in particular hard clams Mercenaria mercenaria, once provided important ecosystem services, including top-down control of phytoplankton blooms. Overharvest of clams has led to a marked decrease in water quality of Great South Bay. Restocking efforts have been unsuccessful due to the prevalence of brown tide, Aureococcus anophagefferens, blooms and decrease in overall water quality. We have proposed that the filter-feeding gastropod, Crepidula fornicata, may provide the necessary filtration capacity for successful hard clam ecosystem restoration. Further, the addition of Crepidula fornicata to Great South Bay has the potential to increase habitat, and as a result, secondary productivity. Here we present preliminary endobenthic biodiversity data from sites upon which experimental Crepidula beds will be constructed.


Benthic Ecology Meeting Society and the Southeastern Estuarine Research Reserve Society Annual Meeting (BEM-SEERS)


Myrtle Beach, SC