In an effort to advance the field of coastal restoration, The Nature Conservancy and a team of scientists from more than a dozen management agencies and research institutions led by the University of Cambridge conducted an in-depth study of oyster reef area and, for the first time, the actual biomass (the "living weight") of oyster reefs in dozens of estuaries throughout the United States.
'Historical ecology with real numbers', published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, presents the first truly quantitative estimates of decline in oyster habitat over such a large spatial and temporal scale.The findings show that while that oyster reef area declined by 64% over the last century, the total biomass, or living weight of oysters on reefs, had dropped by 88% during this period, revealing that simple physical area is an unreliable indicator of habitat status.
Notes to Editors:1. Citation: Zu Ermgassen, P. S. E., Spalding, M. D., Blake, B., Coen, L. D., Dumbauld, B., Geiger, S., Grabowski, J. H., Grizzle, R., Luckenbach, M., McGraw, K., Rodney, B., Ruesink, J. L., Powers, S. P., and Brumbaugh, R., 2012, Historical ecology with real numbers: Past and present extent and biomass of an imperilled estuarine habitat: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The paper was published on Wednesday 13 June.
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