NAKED GOBIES (GOBIOSOMA BOSC) AS INDICATORS OF OYSTER REEF RESTORATION SUCCESS
Lederhouse, Terra Marie
Paynter, Kennedy T
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Naked gobies (</italic>Gobiosoma bosc</italic>) are the most abundant resident fish on oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay and serve as a critical trophic link between the benthic and pelagic communities. Their response to oyster restoration may therefore be a useful indicator of ecosystem functioning. Experiments were conducted from 2005-2006 in the Severn and Patuxent Rivers to determine the response of naked gobies to increasing availability of oyster substrate. Naked gobies and other resident macrofauna were collected from experimental oyster reefs, constructed using adult oysters of various densities, loose oyster shell, and ambient sediment. Naked goby abundance, length, dry weight, and biomass increased with the availability of oyster substrate and were positively correlated with the abundance of other resident macrofauna. Individual dry weight and biomass were greater on reefs with a high density of oysters than on control plots, and may therefore serve as important indicators of oyster reef habitat quality.