Our oyster reef community research projects are closely coordinated with our oyster reef restoration, monitoring, and education projects. We examine aspects of reef biology, community development and trophic dynamics from the earliest days of reef construction forward.
This program was a multi-year comprehensive effort designed to facilitate rehabilitation and restoration of native Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) stocks in the lower portion of the Chesapeake Bay by: 1. Restoring physical two dimensional and three dimensional reef structures at selected sites in Chesapeake Bay tributaries that historically sustained natural oyster populations. 2. Restoration activities on these historic reef footprints consisted of shell plantings (2 dimensional reefs) or reef construction from oyster shell materials (3 dimensional). 3. Establishing populations of native oysters on restored (constructed) oyster shell habitat through deployment of disease resistant cultured oysters combined with natural annual settlement events from existing oyster stocks within the tributary of interest. 4. Restoration sites were locations at which shell planting, reef construction, addition of broodstock oysters, and/or natural annual settlement events occurred. 5. Monitoring oyster populations at restoration sites over time to provide biological data to support adaptive management strategies, objectively evaluate progress towards established restoration goals or success criteria, and identify unexpected stresses that positively or negatively effect the restoration project over time.