University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Ecology Lunchtime Series > A comedy of the commons: Toward sustainable use of the Louisiana public oyster grounds

A comedy of the commons: Toward sustainable use of the Louisiana public oyster grounds

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Jessica C. Walsh.

Is it possible to sustainably harvest a biogenic habitat building species? Oysters build the very habitat they live in, with oyster reefs often being the result of hundreds if not thousands of generations of oysters growing on the remains of their ancestors. In healthy reefs, the population amasses enough shell to achieve growth; compensating for the shell lost through decomposition, transport and sedimentation. Large scale harvesting of oysters presents a problem for maintaining the reef. The end result can be an imbalance in the shell material left behind compared to what is needed, and ultimately to the loss of this habitat. Here I present a model that may provide the solution to the problem. I will present a model in which we simulate the gains and losses of shell to determine where the sustainability criterion of “no net loss of shell” lies. With the uptake and consideration of this model in stock assessments, fisheries management plans can start to define a “sustainable yield” of this biogenic species.

This talk is part of the Ecology Lunchtime Series series.

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