Theses and Dissertations


Title: ASSESSMENT OF RESTORED AND UNRESTORED OYSTER REEFS AND THE PRESENCE OF PERKINSUS MARINUS IN ESTUARINE WATERS OF ALABAMA

Name: Dunne, John

Degree: MS

Chair: David B. Rouse

Resides:

University: Auburn University

Location: Auburn, Alabama

Date: 2001

Pages: 91

Keywords: Oyster,oyster reef,dermo,oyster density,Mobile Bay

Abstract:

Reef assessments were completed on Whitehouse Reef and Klondike Reef in Mobile Bay. A portion of Whitehouse Reef has recently been restored with oyster shell cultch. Assessments of the restored area compared to the unrestored area showed that the reef restoration effort was successful in increasing mean oyster density more than eight-fold (to 49.93 oysters/m from 5.87 oysters/m ). However, adverse conditions persist on the reef, as demonstrated by a follow-up assessment, which revealed mean oyster density declined to near pre-restoration levels. Production on the unrestored area of the reef has remained consistent with historical records. An assessment of Klondike Reef showed the oyster resource is minimal, mean oyster density was 0.16/m2 compared to 0.85/m2 in 1969,and mean weight of exposed cultch was 0.03 kg/m2 in 2000 compared to 0.39 kg/m2 in l969. Prevalence and intensity of Perkinsus marinus ("dermo"), the primary oyster disease of concern in the region, was analyzed at Whitehouse Reef and Cedar Point Reef during summer, 2000. Hemolymph assay technique with Ray's Fluid Thioglycollate Medium (RFTM) was used to detect disease in oysters obtained monthly, from each site. Whitehouse Reef oysters did not appear to be threatened by the disease. However, it is important to note that young oysters were sampled from Whitehouse Reef and "dermo" does not generally establish itself in oysters before their second year of growth. Results from Cedar Point Reef showed the oyster population is at critical level of disease intensity. Weighted incidence of "dermo" was 1.61 and prevalence 94.0% at Cedar Point Reef. Further studies involving constant water quality measurements and periodic "dermo" analysis are recommended for both Whitehouse Reef and Cedar Point Reef in order to continue to work toward understanding the enigma of oyster production in Alabama.

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