Oysters can create reefs that provide habitat for associated species resulting in elevated resident abundances, lower mortality rates, and increased growth and survivorship compared to other estuarine habitats. However, there is a need to quantify trophic relationships and transfer at created oyster reefs to provide a better understanding of their potential in creating suitable nekton habitat. Stable isotope analyses (δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N) were conducted to examine the organic matter sources and potential energy flow pathways at a created intertidal oyster (Crassostrea ariakensis; hereinafter, oyster) reef and adjacent salt marsh in the Yangtze River estuary, China. The δ¹³C values of most reef-associated species (22 of 37) were intermediate between those of suspended particle organic matter (POM) and benthic microalgae (BMI), indicating that both POM and BMI are the major organic matter sources at the created oyster reef. The sessile and motile macrofauna colonizing the reef make up the main prey of transient nekton (e. g., spotted sea bass, Asian paddle crab, and green mud crab), thus suggesting that the associated community was most important in supporting higher trophic levels as opposed to the direct dietary subsidy of oysters. The created oyster reef consistently supported higher trophic levels than the adjacent salt marsh habitat due to the dominance of secondary consumers. These results indicate that through the provision of habitat for associated species, created oyster reefs provide suitable habitat and support a higher average trophic level than adjacent salt marsh in the Yangtze River estuary.
Estuaries & Coasts is the journal of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Begun in 1977 as Chesapeake Science, the journal has gradually expanded its scope and circulation. Today, the journal publishes manuscripts covering aspects of research on physical, chemical, geological or biological systems, as well as management of those systems, at the interface between the land and the sea. The interface is broadly defined to include areas within estuaries, lagoons, wetlands, tidal rivers, watersheds that include estuaries, and near-shore coastal waters. The journal publishes original research findings, reviews, techniques, and comments.
The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation is a private, nonprofit non partisan organization. The Federation was created in 1971, when the members of two older, regionally-based estuarine research societies (AERS and NEERS) decided that a national organization was needed to address estuarine and coastal issues more broadly. The regionally based Affiliate Societies now number seven and encompass all of the coastal regions that border the United States, Canada and Mexico.