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Data from: Oyster aquaculture impacts Zostera marina epibiont community composition in Akkeshi-ko estuary, Japan

Citation

Smith, Carter S.; Ito, Minako; Namba, Mizuho; Nakaoka, Masahiro (2019), Data from: Oyster aquaculture impacts Zostera marina epibiont community composition in Akkeshi-ko estuary, Japan, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.j86rt6b

Abstract

Coastal fisheries are in decline worldwide, and aquaculture has become an increasingly popular way to meet seafood demand. While finfish aquaculture can have substantial adverse effects on coastal ecosystems due mostly to necessary feed inputs, bivalves graze on natural phytoplankton and are often considered for their positive ecosystem services. We conducted two independent studies to investigate the effects of long-line Crassostrea gigas oyster aquaculture on Zostera marina seagrass beds and associated epibiont communities in Akkeshi-ko estuary, Japan. Results from both studies yielded no evidence of an effect of oyster aquaculture on the morphology, density, or biomass of Z. marina, but significant differences were apparent in the epibiont community. Reference seagrass beds located away from aquaculture had higher seagrass epiphyte loads and higher abundances of amphipods. Conversely, seagrass beds below aquaculture lines had higher sessile polychaete biomass and higher isopod abundances. Our results suggest that the presence of oyster aquaculture may have indirect effects on seagrass by changing epibiont community composition and relative abundances of species. One proposed mechanism is that cultured oysters feed on epiphytic diatoms and epiphyte propagules before they can settle on the seagrass, which reduces epiphyte loads and influences subsequent faunal settlement. If carefully implemented and monitored, long-line oyster aquaculture may be a sustainable option to consider as bivalve aquaculture expands to meet global seafood demand, but further work is needed to fully assess and generalize the community-level effects on seagrass epibionts.

Usage Notes

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: OISE-1613161

Location

Japan