The benefits of bivalve reef restoration: a global synthesis of underrepresented species

Philine zu Ermgassen, Ruth Thurstan, Jorge Corrales, Heidi Alleway, Alvar Carranza, Norbert Dankers, Boze Hancock, Flora Kent, Ian McLeod, Bernadette Pogoda, Qing Liu, William Sanderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Bivalve habitat restoration is growing in geographic extent and scale globally. While addressing the wide-scale loss of these biogenic habitats is still a key motivation behind restoration efforts, increasingly stakeholders and funders are drawn to shellfish restoration for the many ecosystem services these habitats provide.
There is clear evidence for the provision of ecosystem services from species targeted for restoration in the USA, in particular Crassostrea virginica. Ecosystem services remain, however, largely un-quantified or even described for the majority of other species targeted for restoration.
Here we present the results of a structured review of the literature, supplemented by expert knowledge to identify which ecosystem services are documented in the following other bivalve species targeted for restoration: Ostrea edulis, O. angasi, C. rhizophorae, Perna canaliculus, Modiolus modiolus, Mytilus edulis, Mytilus platensis, C. gigas, O. talienwhanensis, O. denselamellosa, C. ariakensis, and C. sikamea.
We identify key knowledge gaps in quantifying ecosystem services and examine which ecosystem engineering properties of habitat building bivalves contribute to the provision of ecosystem services. This allows us to identify which ecosystem services have the potential to be widely applicable across bivalve habitat building species.
We emphasise that while there is evidence that many of the ecosystem engineering properties which underpin the provision of ecosystem services are universal, the degree to which services are provided will vary between locations and species. Species-specific, in situ, studies are needed in order to avoid the inappropriate transfer of the ecosystem service delivery between locations, and to further build support and understanding for these emerging targets of restoration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 May 2020

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    zu Ermgassen, P., Thurstan, R., Corrales, J., Alleway, H., Carranza, A., Dankers, N., Hancock, B., Kent, F., McLeod, I., Pogoda, B., Liu, Q., & Sanderson, W. (Accepted/In press). The benefits of bivalve reef restoration: a global synthesis of underrepresented species. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.