Restoration of the Hudson River Oyster: A physiological and spatial assessment of Crassostrea virginica's restoration potential in the Hudson River, NY
Starke, Adam Faulkner
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The Hudson River was once home to abundant eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica, (Gremlin 1791) populations which catered to an enormous fishery and supplied a number of vital ecological services to the estuary. Since this time, oysters have become depleted and the estuary's vitality has been compromised. Recognizing the current state of the Hudson, a comprehensive restoration plan has been implemented and targets the recovery of oysters and oyster reefs. To begin moving forward with these plans, a two year study investigating the physiological responses of the oyster to New York's Hudson River was made. The results have provided useful insights to the rivers potential for proposed large-scale restoration efforts. Results showed poor growth but potentially high survival of mature hatchery-reared oysters through the growing season. Observed recruitment of oysters is encouraging, signifying the system can still support the early stages of life. Still, there remains a number of potentially limiting conditions that will ultimately dictate the recovery efforts.To best the chances of restoration of these reefs, a focus is needed in areas that provide conditions congenial to reef development. To begin identifying these areas, a spatial assessment of some basic environmental conditions across the lower Hudson was made. The result of this restoration suitability index show that much of the river is unsuitable for reef construction, though there remains a number of potentially ideal regions to focus on. Future work in this region should focus attention to these areas with the goal of elucidating the long term potential for restoring populations of oysters to this system.