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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Dead oyster reef pre-restoration, during restoration after raking reef down to mean water level and placing oyster mats, and 3 yr post restoration.

Image: Linda Walters

Troast B, Walters L, Cook GS

A multi-tiered assessment of fish community

responses to habitat restoration in a coastal lagoon

Essential fish habitat is critical for foraging, breeding, or as refugia for many species, and restoration of these habitats has the potential to increase diversity and abundance of fishes. Troast and colleagues explored how fish communities respond to oyster reef restoration compared to natural and dead reefs. Oyster shell height and reef thickness were the best predictors of fish diversity. Fish community assemblages were similar at all reef types. However, unique indicator species were identified at each reef type suggesting different members of the fish community preferentially utilize each reef type. Ultimately, this study highlights the role of habitat restoration in supporting coastal fish communities and emphasizes the importance of ecosystem-based approaches when assessing restoration success.


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