Stakeholder-Driven Modeling to Understand Oyster Population Sustainability

Project Overview Resource
April 2021

The Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is a keystone species in northeast Florida estuaries. In addition to providing important ecosystem services, such as water filtration and shoreline protection, the oyster supports a valuable recreational and commercial fishery. In the Guana Tolomato Matanzas (GTM) National Estuarine Research Reserve, scientists, managers, and oyster harvesters are concerned about the long-term viability of oyster populations. Water quality issues have caused some areas to close to harvesting, potentially intensifying harvesting pressure on remaining open areas. Other factors, such as predation, disease, and increased salinity, can also slow growth or kill oysters. This complicated situation led stakeholders and reserve staff to establish the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Oyster Water Quality Task Force and initiate new research efforts.

About this resource

This project overview describes a 2018-2020 Catalyst project that is building on this existing partnership by conducting a collaborative, scientific modeling investigation to improve oyster population sustainability and management at the GTM Reserve. This project overview describes the project approach, key findings, products and outcomes of the work. 

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