Water Quality and Bacterial Monitoring at Delaware Inland Bays Oyster Gardening Sites,

State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008DE121B
Title: Water Quality and Bacterial Monitoring at Delaware Inland Bays Oyster Gardening Sites, Delaware
Project type: Research
Start date: 3/01/2008
End date: 2/28/2009
Congressional district: At-large
Focus categories: Non Point Pollution, Methods
Keywords: water quality, bioindicators, oyster aquaculture
Principal Investigators: Dillard, Christen; Ozbay, Gulnihal
Federal funds: $ 3,500
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 7,000
Abstract: Oyster restoration in heavily degraded habitats with small or non-existent oyster populations may require a multifaceted approach. Delaware's coastal lagoons, or "inland bays", have been experiencing the impacts of sustained nutrient input and sediment erosion resulting from several decades of development within the watershed. Oysters increase water clarity by filtering sediments and algae, and potentially remove nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Oyster aquaculture can provide many of the same ecological services as oyster reefs and are valuable component of estuaries worldwide, providing a unique habitat for many ecologically and economically important species. Using shellfish as a water quality indicator has proven to be successful in water quality monitoring due to the bioaccumulation of different types of microorganisms that may be present in their surrounding environment. In addition to water quality monitoring, oysters are also commonly tested for seafood safety purposes. The objectives of this study are: (i) to monitor water quality for physical (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, ORP, conductivity), chemical (ammonia, total phosphorus, total nitrogen, nitrite, turbidity, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids), and biological (total chlorophyll-a) parameters at selected oyster gardening sites; and (ii) to evaluate the total bacteria and Vibrionaceae levels in Crassostrea virginica grown at the selected oyster gardening sites.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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