For the past decade, oysters have been recognized as “ecosystem engineers” that generate important ecological services, including habitat provision for nektonic organisms (e.g., adult finfish, certain crustaceans). Most previous studies investigating this role of intertidal oyster reefs in South Carolina have compared the nektonic assemblages on natural oyster reefs, saltmarshes, mud bottom and subtidal oyster shell habitats using various methods which involve some degree of habitat disturbance. The present study employed a novel, non-destructive sampling method involving the deployment of a drop net around study plots to compare the nektonic assemblages associated with intertidal oyster reefs (natural and enhanced) with those of neighboring soft sediment habitats at three sites in South Carolina. Each site comprised an experimental plot, which contained an oyster reef varying in substrate type (oyster “castles”, oyster shell bags, and natural oyster reef) and age (1 to 7 years), and an adjacent control plot without structural complexity. Abundances of nektonic organisms were higher in experimental plots compared to control plots and were correlated to surface seawater temperature at all locations in the experimental plot. Species richness was significantly higher within the experimental plot than within the control plot at two of the three study sites. At the remaining site, the number of species did not differ significantly between treatments. Differences in diversity between treatments across sites may be explained by habitat age.
|Advisor:||Kingsley-Smith, Peter R.|
|Commitee:||Arnott, Stephen A., Harold, Antony S., McCandless, Amy T., Reichert, Marcel J. M., Roumillat, William A.|
|School:||College of Charleston|
|School Location:||United States -- South Carolina|
|Source:||MAI 50/02M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Ecology, Biological oceanography|
|Keywords:||Drop net, Estuaries, Habitat restoration, Nekton, Oyster reef enhancement, Tag retention|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be