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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 528:187-203 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11269

Functional equivalence of constructed and  natural intertidal eastern oyster reef habitats in a northern Gulf of Mexico estuary

Kevin S. Dillon1,*, Mark S. Peterson1, Christopher A. May2

1Department of Coastal Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi, 703 East Beach Drive, Ocean Springs, MS 39564, USA
2The Nature Conservancy, 101 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Ecosystem functional equivalence of constructed and natural intertidal eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica reefs was evaluated over 2 yr using oyster density, taxa richness, phyletic abundance, and carbon and nitrogen stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) values of faunal assemblages as metrics at 3 sites in Mississippi’s Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Constructed reefs generally developed higher oyster density, similar or greater taxa richness, and higher phyletic abundance than their natural counterparts over the course of the study. Similar faunal assemblages and food web structures were found between paired constructed and natural reefs, and the stable isotope values for consumers at constructed reefs were not significantly different from those of their natural counterparts. Cluster analysis of δ13C and δ15N values for the few ubiquitous taxa sampled showed that constructed and natural reef pairs were isotopically more similar within bayous (constructed vs. natural) than among bayous but varied to some extent by year. Consumer δ13C values showed larger spatial and temporal differences that were coincident with long-term salinity changes than δ15N values, which were similar across sites and time.


KEY WORDS: Restoration · Oyster reef · Taxa richness · Stable isotopes


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Cite this article as: Dillon KS, Peterson MS, May CA (2015) Functional equivalence of constructed and  natural intertidal eastern oyster reef habitats in a northern Gulf of Mexico estuary. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 528:187-203. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11269

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