Recruitment of Crassostrea virginica: a tool for monitoring the aquatic health of the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve. Marine Technical Report Number 94-2.
Recruitment levels of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, were evaluated on the Duplin River within the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the results were used to establish a data base to monitor system health. Three sites were chosen which together encompassed much of the Duplin River. Sampling occurred on a monthly basis and at the end of the setting season. Settlement commenced in June, peak in August, and ceased in October/November. The density values were high and comparable to levels experienced in Wassaw Sound, GA, which were obtained employing similar techniques. Within the Duplin River, settlement levels varied considerable among the sites. Highest recruitment estimates occurred sub tidally or at the low water mark for the monthly sampling and inter tidally for the seasonal samples. The shift has been attributed to predation on the newly settled forms. Some implications for fishery management and ecosystem monitoring are discussed.