Molluscan Ecology Archive

Programs included in the archives are dormant programs that have had no dedicated funds for at least the past five years. In some cases, these programs have been superseded by other programs (i.e. VOSARA) that can be found on our main page. Please contact Roger Mann or Melissa Southworth directly if interested in learning more about any of our archived programs.  

Chesapeake Bay Oyster Population Estimate (CBPOE)

In 2000, the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee and the US EPA Chesapeake Bay Program jointly funded an interstate research project for the purposes of (1) quantifying the baseline oyster population, and (2) establishing the monitoring, data management and data analysis frameworks for measuring progress toward the oyster restoration goal, Chesapeake Bay Oyster Population Estimation or CBOPE.

Oyster Reef Communities

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.

Native Oyster Restoration Monitoring (NORM)

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 the 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 affect the restoration project over time.  This program has been superseded by VOSARA

Cownose Ray - (Rhinoptera bonasus)
Archaeology and Oysters

Oysters and the reefs that they created were central to the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay prior to the early 20th century. Link

 Hard Clams
Stock Assessment

In 1995, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Shellfish Replenishment program and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Molluscan Ecology program conducted an intensive hard clam stock assessment in the lower James River occupying over 3000 stations.  This survey was the first comprehensive hard clam stock assessment in Virginia in almost 20 years.  Using the protocols established in 1995, similar surveys were conducted in 2001 and 2002 covering regions in the James, York, Back, and Poquoson Rivers as well as Mobjack Bay and areas off Ocean View.  The data sets generated by these intensive efforts were used to support resource management as well as basic descriptive research. While these data are useful for historical reference, the wild fishery in VA has been in decline over the past several decades.

General Research
Ballast Water Management
It is suggested that International Maritime Organization standards should limit the population of organisms larger than 50 microns to about 10 organisms per cubic meter of water. Populations of organisms between 10 and 50 microns would be reduced to 10 per milliliter.


The Chesapeake Bay is home to a small, short-lived cephalopod, the brief squid Lollinguncula brevis.  Cephalopods are significant members of marine communities in coastal and oceanic waters, although the biology, ecology, and life histories of many species are poorly described.

Aquaculture and the Environment
Intensive oyster culture in the Chesapeake Bay offers enormous economic growth opportunities but also poses unusual biological and management challenges.
Links to Testimony for Various Agencies