Can Increasing Stocks of Oysters in Chesapeake Bay Serve to Improve Water Quality?

Principal Investigator:

Roger I.E. Newell

Start/End Year:

1996 - 1998


Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Co-Principal Investigator:

Jeffrey C. Cornwell, Jon H. Tuttle, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science



We will test the hypothesis that water quality in eutrophic estuaries can be substantially improved as a consequence of the feeding activity of bivalves. These organisms serve to remove large quantities of phytoplankton and hence may reduce the amount of organic material settling beneath the estuarine pycnocline where its degradation causes hypoxia. We will determine if the rate and form of nitrogen regenerated from oyster biodeposits in aerobic waters differs from when the same amount of plankton biomass is degraded through anaerobic microbial processes. This research is pertinent to both the Environmental Studies and Fisheries and Aquaculture programmatic areas.

Related Publications:

Magnuson, A; Harding, LW; Mallonee, ME; Adolf, JE. 2004. Bio-optical model for Chesapeake Bay and the Middle Atlantic Bight. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science61(3):403 -424. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2004.06.020. UM-SG-RS-2004-09.

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