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Relationship of biological communities to habitat structure on the largest remnant flat oyster reef (Ostrea angasi) in Australia


Crawford, C and Edgar, G and Gillies, CL and Heller-Wagner, G, Relationship of biological communities to habitat structure on the largest remnant flat oyster reef (Ostrea angasi) in Australia, Marine and Freshwater Research, 71, (8) pp. 972-983. ISSN 1323-1650 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/MF19171


Oyster reef restoration is a growing field in Australia, yet formal descriptions of associated biological communities for reefs created by native flat oysters (Ostrea angasi) do not currently exist. Native flat oysters once formed extensive and complex three-dimensional habitats in bays and estuaries across southern Australia until indiscriminate fishing, sedimentation and disease led to their near disappearance. To determine the diversity and abundance on naturally occurring oyster reefs, we sampled four sites on the last known naturally occurring oyster reef ecosystem, which resides in north-eastern Tasmania, and compared them to the surrounding soft sediment regions. Assemblages were related to environmental variables to determine whether consistent patterns were present. Oyster reef sites contained three times the faunal abundance of the surrounding soft sediment regions. Abundance among echinoderms, arthropods, molluscs and fish was much elevated, whereas annelids showed similar levels of abundance but differed in terms of species composition. These results show that oyster reefs do support abundant and diverse assemblages, emphasising the probable loss of community-level biodiversity associated with their historical decline around southern Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:oyster reef, ecosystem, estuary, conservation, ecosystem services, habitat complexity, reef restoration, shellfish reefs
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Natural resource management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Crawford, C (Dr Christine Crawford)
UTAS Author:Edgar, G (Professor Graham Edgar)
UTAS Author:Heller-Wagner, G (Mr Gideon Heller-Wagner)
ID Code:139531
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2020-06-18
Last Modified:2020-11-17

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