Smithville is a community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, on the edge of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. A century ago, Smithville had more than 100 residents. Today, it has four, in two homes: an elderly couple, and one elderly woman and her son, who cares for her.
Oyster aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry in Maryland’s Chesapeake waters which stimulates economic activity and may provide a host of ecosystem benefits. A potential concern associated with the intensification of the oyster aquaculture is the local production and accumulation of oyster biodeposits, which can lead to a porewater sulfide accumulation and declining bioturbation, symptoms of declining ecosystem function. Sulfide is naturally removed from the seafloor by the interactions between bioturbating infauna and sulfide oxidizing bacteria.