Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
Richard F. Dame
The Eastern Oyster forms the oyster beds that are commonly found in estuaries along the coast of South Carolina. This study examined any possible relationships that might exist between the size of an oyster bed and other sessile filter feeders found living there, mainly the scorched mussel and two species of barnacles. Physical dimensions were also analyzed as they regulate the size of the oyster population. Population measurements are represented here in the form of biomass, which is an estimate of the mass of all of the individuals of that species. A relationship was found for mussels and oysters. However, this relationship did not hold true when tested with a second sampling of oyster beds. Research has shown that many factors influence the size and growth rates of oysters and mussels. Some of these factors include salinity, temperature, and seasonal variance in growth rates. There was no relationship found between barnacle and oyster populations. Barnacles tend to attach to the older portions of oyster shells because these parts do not grow any more. Growth rates in oysters vary with age, so a possible reason that no relationship was found is that the right factors were not tested. In order to clearly portray the role oyster beds play in populations of sessile filter feeders, this study would need to be expanded out over several years with samples of oysters collected every season. There are many other factors that need to be analyzed, especially growth rate change.
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Behm, Pamela Marie, "Determination of Mussel and Barnacle Biomass Based on Oyster Biomass" (1997). Honors Theses. 167.