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Role and value of nitrogen regulation provided by oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in the Mission-Aransas Estuary, Texas, USA.

Beseres Pollack J, Yoskowitz D, Kim HC, Montagna PA - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: Suspension-feeding activities of oysters impart a potentially significant benefit to estuarine ecosystems via reduction of water column nutrients, plankton and seston biomass, and primary productivity which can have a significant impact on human well-being.Commercial harvest of oysters in the Mission-Aransas Estuary can remove approximately 21,665 kg N per year via physical transport from the system.Monetizing ecosystem services can help increase awareness at the stakeholder level of the importance of oysters beyond commercial fishery values alone.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Life Sciences, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America. jennifer.pollack@tamucc.edu

ABSTRACT
Suspension-feeding activities of oysters impart a potentially significant benefit to estuarine ecosystems via reduction of water column nutrients, plankton and seston biomass, and primary productivity which can have a significant impact on human well-being. This study considered nitrogen regulation by eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica in the Mission-Aransas Estuary, Texas, USA, as a function of denitrification, burial, and physical transport from the system via harvest. Oyster reefs were estimated to remove 502.5 kg N km(-2) through denitrification of biodeposits and 251.3 kg N km(-2) in burial of biodeposits to sediments. Nitrogen is also physically transported out of the estuary via harvest of oysters. Commercial harvest of oysters in the Mission-Aransas Estuary can remove approximately 21,665 kg N per year via physical transport from the system. We developed a transferable method to value the service of nitrogen regulation by oysters, where the potential cost equivalent value of nitrogen regulation is quantified via cost estimates for a constructed biological nutrient removal (BNR) supplement to a wastewater treatment plant. The potential annual engineered cost equivalent of the service of nitrogen regulation and removal provided by reefs in the Mission-Aransas Estuary is $293,993 yr(-1). Monetizing ecosystem services can help increase awareness at the stakeholder level of the importance of oysters beyond commercial fishery values alone.

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Mission-Aransas Estuary, Texas, USA, showing locations of oyster reefs.
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pone-0065314-g001: Mission-Aransas Estuary, Texas, USA, showing locations of oyster reefs.

Mentions: Our study site is the Mission-Aransas estuary, Texas, USA. The shallow, bar-built estuary is approximately 540 km2 with an average depth of 2 m at mid-tide level (Figure 1) [20]. The estuary comprises several bays, the largest of which are Copano Bay, Aransas Bay and Mesquite Bay. Oysters occur primarily as large subtidal reefs in low- to moderate-salinity regions of the estuary [21]. Vertical relief of the reefs ranges from ∼0.3 to 1.8 m in height, and the areal extent of is approximately 18.11 km2 (1811 ha).


Role and value of nitrogen regulation provided by oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in the Mission-Aransas Estuary, Texas, USA.

Beseres Pollack J, Yoskowitz D, Kim HC, Montagna PA - PLoS ONE (2013)

Mission-Aransas Estuary, Texas, USA, showing locations of oyster reefs.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3675116&req=5

pone-0065314-g001: Mission-Aransas Estuary, Texas, USA, showing locations of oyster reefs.
Mentions: Our study site is the Mission-Aransas estuary, Texas, USA. The shallow, bar-built estuary is approximately 540 km2 with an average depth of 2 m at mid-tide level (Figure 1) [20]. The estuary comprises several bays, the largest of which are Copano Bay, Aransas Bay and Mesquite Bay. Oysters occur primarily as large subtidal reefs in low- to moderate-salinity regions of the estuary [21]. Vertical relief of the reefs ranges from ∼0.3 to 1.8 m in height, and the areal extent of is approximately 18.11 km2 (1811 ha).

Bottom Line: Suspension-feeding activities of oysters impart a potentially significant benefit to estuarine ecosystems via reduction of water column nutrients, plankton and seston biomass, and primary productivity which can have a significant impact on human well-being.Commercial harvest of oysters in the Mission-Aransas Estuary can remove approximately 21,665 kg N per year via physical transport from the system.Monetizing ecosystem services can help increase awareness at the stakeholder level of the importance of oysters beyond commercial fishery values alone.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Life Sciences, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America. jennifer.pollack@tamucc.edu

ABSTRACT
Suspension-feeding activities of oysters impart a potentially significant benefit to estuarine ecosystems via reduction of water column nutrients, plankton and seston biomass, and primary productivity which can have a significant impact on human well-being. This study considered nitrogen regulation by eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica in the Mission-Aransas Estuary, Texas, USA, as a function of denitrification, burial, and physical transport from the system via harvest. Oyster reefs were estimated to remove 502.5 kg N km(-2) through denitrification of biodeposits and 251.3 kg N km(-2) in burial of biodeposits to sediments. Nitrogen is also physically transported out of the estuary via harvest of oysters. Commercial harvest of oysters in the Mission-Aransas Estuary can remove approximately 21,665 kg N per year via physical transport from the system. We developed a transferable method to value the service of nitrogen regulation by oysters, where the potential cost equivalent value of nitrogen regulation is quantified via cost estimates for a constructed biological nutrient removal (BNR) supplement to a wastewater treatment plant. The potential annual engineered cost equivalent of the service of nitrogen regulation and removal provided by reefs in the Mission-Aransas Estuary is $293,993 yr(-1). Monetizing ecosystem services can help increase awareness at the stakeholder level of the importance of oysters beyond commercial fishery values alone.

Show MeSH