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The growth of the Pacific oyster in the Eastern Scheldt

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The growth of the Pacific oyster in the Eastern Scheldt

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Samenvatting

The aim of this research was to determine the
influence of a natural oyster reef on the growth of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas in the Eastern Scheldt. Since
the construction of the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier, the Eastern Scheldt is threatened by a sand deficit. A
possible measure to protect the intertidal areas from the sand deficit is the construction of artificial oyster reefs.
These oyster reefs can be a self-sustainable and cost-effective solution for the sand deficit in the Eastern Scheldt. The
obtained results from this can be used in the future to develop an optimal design for artificial oyster reefs.
The main question of this research project is: “What is the influence of a natural oyster reef on the growth of the
Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas in the Eastern Scheldt”.
To determine this influence, a field method was developed. Oyster nets were made, consisting of strong flexible
plastic material with mazes of approximately 2 cm. These oyster nets held 100 oysters and were divided in 5 groups
of 20 oysters. In total 8 oyster nets were constructed.
At 18 September the oysters nets were placed at the intertidal areas in Viane. Two oyster nets were placed at the
dike side of a natural reef, two oyster nets were placed 2-3 cm above the reef, two oyster nets were placed at the sea
side of the reef and two oyster nets were placed at a reference location. The oyster nets were placed at the same
height to make sure the inundation period was similar for all the oyster nets. At 22 November the oyster nets were
removed from the field. To determine the influence of the oyster reef, the shell characteristics (length, width and
thickness of the shell) and the health condition index were measured before and after the field period.
The results of the shell characteristics showed an increase in shell dimensions for each location, but the differences
between the locations is minimal. The results of the health condition index were unexpected, the health condition
for all of the oysters was decreased at T=1. The oysters located at the sea side of the oyster reef had a slightly higher
health condition index compared to the oyster nets at the other locations, although this difference was also minimal.
The decrease in health condition index is hard to explain, possibly the oysters invest their energy first in their shell
dimensions and later in their health condition.
Based on the results it is hard to say at which location compared to the reef the oysters grew better, there were no
significant differences. Because there the changes were minimal, it seems that the oysters do not suffer from
competition between each other. According to these results the restoration of existing oyster reefs can occur at any
location adjacent to the oyster reef.

Toon meer
OrganisatieHZ University of Applied Sciences
OpleidingWatermanagement/ Aquatische Ecotechnologie
AfdelingDelta Academy
PartnersHZ University of Applied Sciences, Building with Nature, Vlissingen
Datum2014-06-27
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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