Do Oyster Filtration and Wave Attenuation Associated with Oyster Reefs and Breakwater Improve Seagrass Habitat?

Principal Investigator:

Raleigh Hood

Start/End Year:

2003 - 2006


Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Co-Principal Investigator:

Evamaria Koch, Roger Newell, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science



This project addresses one of the priorities established by Maryland Sea Grant: the health of our coastal ecosystems, or more specifically, a physical-biological link between oyster reefs and seagrass habitats. Our objectives are: (1) quantify the impact of oyster reefs and breakwaters on wave attenuation and water clarity using a combination of numerical modeling and field studies; (2) evaluate the potential for oyster reefs to create suitable seagrass habitats using these same approaches; (3) develop a model that can be used by managers to help guide their seagrass and oyster restoration efforts; (4) educate managers and citizens about the importance of oyster reefs in maintaining water quality and seagrass habitat.

Related Publications:

Smith, KA; North, EW; Shi, F; Chen, SN; Hood, RW.; Koch, EW; Newell, RIE. 2009. Modeling the Effects of Oyster Reefs and Breakwaters on Seagrass Growth. Estuaries and Coasts32(4):748 -757. doi:10.1007/s12237-009-9170-z. UM-SG-RS-2009-12.

Chen, SN; Sanford, LP; Koch, EW; Shi, F; North, EW. 2007. A nearshore model to investigate the effects of seagrass bed geometry on wave attenuation and suspended sediment transport. Estuaries and Coasts30(2):296 -310. doi:10.1007/BF02700172. UM-SG-RS-2007-06.

Newell, RIE; Koch, EW. 2004. Modeling seagrass density and distribution in response to changes in turbidity stemming from bivalve filtration and seagrass sediment stabilization. Estuaries27(5):793 -806. doi:10.1007/BF02912041. UM-SG-RS-2004-11.

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