Science Serving Maryland's Coasts
Jeffrey Cornwell, Ph.D.
Horn Point Laboratory
Impact of Oyster Floats on Chesapeake Bay Water Quality
Newell (2005) suggested that nutrient regeneration from bivalve communities independent of the underlying sediments is a critical yet not adequately understood dynamic. We evaluated this statement by adapting techniques used in sediment incubations and modifying them for the study of the nutrient balance associated with the oyster aquaculture. In order to assess chemical processes associated with off-bottom oyster floats, we examined for ammonium, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, dinitrogen and oxygen fluxes. Our analysis indicates that oyster shells are covered with nitrifying organisms, and that nutrient transformations are correlated to the size of the oyster shell. The process of denitrification did not occur significantly in single oyster incubations and was not nitrate-limited.
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