MEPS - Vol. 358 - Feature article

Suspended culture of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas in Tapong Bay, Taiwan Photo: Teng-Chung Wang

Huang CH, Lin HJ, Huang TC, Su HM, Hung JJ

 

Responses of phytoplankton and periphyton to system-scale removal of oyster-culture racks from a eutrophic tropical lagoon

 

There is uncertainty about the ecological impacts vs. benefits of oyster culture in coastal waters. In a 4 yr study, Huang and colleagues examined the effects of the system-scale removal of oyster culture racks on phytoplankton and periphyton in a eutrophic tropical lagoon. They highlight the importance of tidal flushing in regulating the response of phytoplankton to removal of the oysters. Phytoplankton biomass and productivity did not change much in the outer region, but were much higher after rack removal in the inner region. In contrast, periphyton biomass and production did not show significant changes. These results demonstrate that cultured oysters can exert effective top-down control of phytoplankton biomass and community structure in a eutrophic lagoon.

 

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