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Oyster Restoration Informed by Research

Oyster restoration projects are time, labor, and funding intensive and therefore it is important for restoration practitioners to have access to relevant data regarding the ideal environmental conditions for growth and survival of target species.

To meet this need, recent MSC PhD graduate Christopher Baillie, advised by Professor Jon Grabowski, conducted at study in Ipswich, Massachusetts investigating the biological (predator stress, smothering/competition by other organisms) and physical (smothering from sediment, air exposure, substrate) factors influencing the recruitment, growth, and survival of oysters, on units constructed of weathered oyster shell across a tidal gradient.

Results of the study, recently published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, highlight regional differences in the relative importance of these factors by comparing them to results from similar studies in the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the U.S. These data can assist restoration practitioners in determining the most suitable conditions and location for future oyster restoration efforts.


This was a collaborative project and the researchers would like to thank the Ipswich’s Board of Selectmen, Conservation Commission, and Shellfish Advisory Board for their approval and support and extend a very special thank you to Ipswich Shellfish Constable Scott LaPreste for all of his insight, guidance, and logistical support that made this project possible.