Missing the full story: First estimates of carbon deposition rates for the European flat oyster O. edulis

Hannah Lee, Davies Ian, John Baxter, Karen Diele, William Sanderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


1. Globally, momentum to identify baseline habitat health and restore damaged habitats has been increasing, for example, the number of shellfish restoration projects in Europe has quadrupled in the past three years. With increasing focus on both restoration and climate mitigation research this study highlights how the two practices complement each other.
2. By developing a full understanding of the spectrum of ecosystem services (functioning, supporting, regulating and cultural) provided by a habitat, it becomes possible to quantify overall ecosystem health and function. This evidence is key in advising policy makers, restoration funders and marine spatial planners on the connection between keystone species restoration and ecosystem service restoration.
3. This study addresses the active and passive deposition of sediment associated with the bivalve Ostrea edulis. The organic and inorganic carbon fraction of the deposited sediments are also quantified. By utilising these data, expected carbon deposition associated with a restored flat oyster beds are discussed.
4. The study was run ex situ at St Abbs Marine Station, natural sea water input was utilised and covariate data on temperature (°C), suspended particulate influx (g L-1), salinity (ppt) and oxygen (mg L-1) availability were quantified. Enhanced sedimentation (2.9 times higher) was observed in the presence of the living oyster, however, no difference in sedimentation rates were observed between the dead oysters and control treatment.
5. Deposition rates of O. edulis are discussed comparatively with work which has focused on other species from both Europe and the USA. The data produced in this study are also contextualised from the perspective of quantification of ecosystem service provision for both restoration practices as well as marine management.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 May 2020

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