Defining optimal freshwater flow for Oyster production: Effects of freshet rate and magnitude of change and duration on eastern oysters and perkinsus marinus infection

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In coastal Louisiana, the development of large-scale freshwater diversion projects has led to controversy over their effects on oyster resources. Using controlled laboratory experiments in combination with a field study, we examined the effects of pulsed freshwater events (freshet) of different magnitude, duration, and rate of change on oyster resources. Laboratory and field evidence indicate that low salinity events (<5 psu) decreased Perkinsus marinus infection intensities. Furthermore, when salinity was low (<5 psu), parasite infection intensities continued to decrease even as temperatures exceeded 20°C. At the same time, oyster growth was positively correlated with salinity. To maximize oyster production, data indicate that both low and high salinity events will be necessary. © 2009 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.

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Estuaries and Coasts

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