Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Sarah Kwon, Eckerd College

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Mass Balance Analysis of Oyster Biodeposits


A mass balance, control volume model of the Marinetics oyster farm in Cambridge, Maryland was constructed to predict the fluxes of biodeposits out of the farm and the biodepositon rate within the farm. A sequence of calculations at quasi-steady state approximate the entire tidal cycle. Equations expressing fluxes into and out of the control volume as well as internal sources and sinks are parameterized using field measurements. Measurement techniques include settling experiments, erosion experiments, current meter measurements and sediment trap deployments. Results indicate that the area is ebb dominated; ebb currents are stronger and the ebb lasts longer than during the flood. During the ebb tide a significant fraction of the biodeposits are predicted to leave the farm before hitting bottom. Accounting for resuspension more than doubles this export. During flood tide, less material is directly exported and much less is resuspended. Averaged over the tidal cycle, most of the biodeposits remain beneath the farm, but may be flushed out during infrequent wind and wave events.