Quantifying clearance rates of restored shellfish reefs using modular baskets

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Maja Paulina Andersson, Karen L Cheney, Robbie Porter, Ben L Gilby, Benjamin Mos 


Shellfish reefs are one of the most degraded marine ecosystems, prompting substantial efforts to restore them. While biodiversity gains of restored reefs are well documented, other ecosystem services such as water filtration remain overlooked. We tested whether modular baskets could provide a practical way to measure water filtration by invertebrate communities on restored reefs and assess community responses to light, a simulated heatwave, and a simulated flood. A seawater system was designed to host ten modular baskets that had been deployed intertidally for 19 months in Moreton Bay, Australia. We measured baseline clearance rates and then tested the effects of (1) light by covering tanks with black polyethylene, (2) temperature by heating half of the tanks ~4 °C above ambient for five days, and (3) reduced salinity by addition of freshwater from ambient (~36) to ~25 or ~15 respectively. Microalgae Nannochloropsis oceanica (CS-246) was added at a density of 1–1.5 × 106 cells mL-1, and algal density was measured every 30 min for up to 2 h. Mean baseline clearance rates per basket were 119.1 L h-1 ± 14.8 SE. Clearance rates were reduced by ~45% when the salinity was ~15 compared to ~25 but were not affected by light (light vs dark) or temperature (ambient vs +4 °C). Our results demonstrate modular restoration structures can be used to quantify the ecosystem services provided by restored reefs and to assess the vulnerability of natural and restored shellfish communities to current and future threats such as heatwaves and floods.




Animal Experimentation and Research, Aquaculture and Fisheries Life Sciences, Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences, Marine Biology, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Research Methods in Life Sciences, Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology, Water Resource Management, Zoology


oyster reef restoration, filtration, clearance rate, bivalve, climate change, marine heatwave, Flood, filtration, clearance rate, bivalve, climate change, Marine heatwave, flood


Published: 2023-12-08 02:06

Last Updated: 2024-01-16 01:08

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CC-By Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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