We examined the possibility that a nonnative oyster species would provide an ecologically functional equivalent of the native oyster species if introduced into the Chesapeake Bay. Habitat complexity and associated benthic communities of experimental triploid Crassostrea virginica and Crassostrea ariakensis reefs were investigated at 4 sites of varying salinity, tidal regime, water depth, predation intensity, and disease pressure in the Chesapeake Bay region (Maryland and Virginia). Four experimental treatments were established at each site: C. virginica, C. ariakensis, 50:50 of C. virginica and C. ariakensis, and shell only. Abundance, biomass, species richness, evenness, dominance, and diversity of reef-associated fauna were evaluated in relation to habitat location and oyster species. Although habitat complexity varied with location, no differences among complexity were associated with oyster species. Similarly, differences in faunal assemblages were more pronounced between sites than within sites. Our results show functional equivalency between oyster species with respect to habitat at the intertidal site and the low-salinity subtidal location. At subtidal sites of higher salinity, however, the numbers of organisms associated with C. virginica reefs per unit of oyster biomass were significantly greater than the numbers of organisms associated with C. ariakensis reefs. Multivariate analyses of data from subtidal high-salinity sites revealed unique communities associated with C. virginica treatments, whereas mixed-oyster species assemblages were functionally equivalent to monospecific C. ariakensis experimental treatments. Our study represents the first effort to quantify the potential habitat function of C. ariakensis, which has been proposed for an intentional introduction into Chesapeake Bay, and provides evidence of species-specific similarities and differences in reef-associated communities.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 29 • No. 2