Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Crassostrea virginica
(eastern oyster)

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Datasheet

Crassostrea virginica (eastern oyster)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Crassostrea virginica
  • Preferred Common Name
  • eastern oyster
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Mollusca
  •       Class: Bivalvia
  •         Subclass: Pteriomorphia
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • It is unknown whether or not the eastern oyster, C. virginica is an invasive species. It has been introduced into many non-native areas but there is no data to support invasiveness. Only one example in Pearl Harb...

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Crassostrea virginica Gmelin, 1791

Preferred Common Name

  • eastern oyster

International Common Names

  • English: American cupped oyster; American oyster; Apalachicola Bay oyster; Atlantic oyster; blue point oyster; blue points; common oyster; coon oyster; East Coast American oyster; Gulf Oyster; North American oyster; oyster; rock oyster; Virginia oyster
  • Spanish: ostion de manglar; ostion de placer; ostion virginico; ostion virginico
  • French: huitre

Local Common Names

  • Denmark: osters
  • Germany: Amerikanische auster
  • Hungary: osztriga
  • Indonesia: kerong
  • Italy: ostrica
  • Japan: kaki; oisuta
  • Netherlands: oester
  • Portugal: ostra
  • Sweden: ostron

Summary of Invasiveness

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It is unknown whether or not the eastern oyster, C. virginica is an invasive species. It has been introduced into many non-native areas but there is no data to support invasiveness. Only one example in Pearl Harbour suggests that C. virginica as possibly being an invasive species. Before a die-off in the early 1970s, C. virginica formed extensive dense beds in the estuarine areas of Pearl Harbour, which undoubtedly affected the native benthic communities there, but the ecological impact in the Hawaiian Islands remained unstudied. According to the Global Invasive Species Database, there are currently no invasive species listings recorded for C. virginica (GISD, 2005). C. virginica has become established in California, USA and Washington, USA (USGS, 2007).

C. virginica has been a host for transporting other species who have become invasive in their new habitats. This has occurred when C. virginica has been introduced into non-native areas.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Mollusca
  •             Class: Bivalvia
  •                 Subclass: Pteriomorphia
  •                     Order: Ostreoida
  •                         Unknown: Ostreoidea
  •                             Family: Ostreidae
  •                                 Genus: Crassostrea
  •                                     Species: Crassostrea virginica

Description

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Oysters are considered a keystone species in most estuaries along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and self-sustaining populations play an essential role in the ecology of these estuaries. C. virginica display a wide range of survival strategies. They are both colonizers and ecosystem engineers and have high reproductive potential. The species’ ability to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions (e.g. tolerance for low dissolved oxygen and wide ranges in salinity and temperature) makes it resilient. C. virginica inhabit a naturally viable environment, and evidence suggests that past local extirpations and colonizations have been common over geologic time (EOBRT, 2007).

C. virginica is a benthic, broadcasting bivalve mollusc. C. virginica are abundant in shallow saltwater bays, lagoons and estuaries, in water 8 to 25 feet (2.5 to 7.5 m) deep. Oysters favour estuaries and embayments with low salinities and are intolerant of prolonged exposure to fresh water or marine conditions. They are found in shallow water of tidal to subtidal depth of fairly constant turbidity and salinity, but are able to withstand a wide range of temperatures. Oysters usually colonize in beds. Competition for space is an important source of mortality. Uncrowded, oysters can live to be 20 years old (Kay, 1979).

C. virginica is an economically important species cultured in many areas in North America. It is also ecologically important because of the impact of its filter feeding behaviour on water quality (Quilang et al., 2007). Some oyster reefs are so large they are included on topographic maps. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, several oyster reefs were so big they posed navigational hazards to ships (Texas Parks and Wildlife, 2007).

Distribution

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American or eastern oyster occur along the east coast of North America from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Key Biscayne, Florida and south through the Caribbean to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela (NOAA, 2005). C. virginica occurs naturally in a great diversity of habitats along the western Atlantic Ocean from the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the Gulf of Mexico, Panama, and the Caribbean Islands (Carlton and Mann, 1996; Abbott, 1974; MacKenzie, 1997a; Jenkins et al., 1997; FAO, 1978 (in EOBRT, 2007)). C. virginica has also been described from Panama, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina along the Caribbean Sea and the western Atlantic Ocean in Central and South America (Wallace, 2001 in EOBRT, 2007). Carriker and Gaffney (1996 in EOBRT, 2007) report eastern oysters are distributed in the western Atlantic from Brazil northward through the Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico to the St Lawrence River estuary in eastern Canada, a range of some 8,000 km.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Sea Areas

Atlantic, Eastern CentralWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
Atlantic, NortheastWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
Atlantic, SoutheastWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
Pacific, NorthwestLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
Pacific, SouthwestLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
Pacific, Western CentralLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996

Asia

JapanPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1968 Not invasive FIGIS, 2005FAO, 2005

North America

BermudaLocalisedNative Not invasive FIGIS, 2005
CanadaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-New BrunswickPresentNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-Nova ScotiaPresentNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-Prince Edward IslandPresentNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
MexicoPresentIntroduced Not invasive Marcet et al., 1992; Kennedy et al., 1996
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-CaliforniaLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996San Francisco Bay, San Pablo Bay, San Leandro Bay, Oakland Estuary (Oakland Creek), Alameda, Humboldt Bay (near Eureka, CA)
-ConnecticutWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-DelawareWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-FloridaWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-GeorgiaWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1866 Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996; USGS, 2007Possibility of invasiveness over time
-LouisianaWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-MaineWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-MarylandWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-MassachusettsWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-MississippiWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-New HampshireWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-New JerseyWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-North CarolinaWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-OregonPresentIntroduced1870 Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-Rhode IslandWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-South CarolinaWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-TexasWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-VermontPresent only in captivity/cultivationNative1890 Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-VirginiaWidespreadNative Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
-WashingtonPresentIntroduced Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996; USGS, 2007

Central America and Caribbean

BahamasPresentNative Not invasive FIGIS, 2005
BarbadosPresentNative Not invasive FIGIS, 2005
BelizeLocalisedNative Not invasive FIGIS, 2005
Cayman IslandsPresentNative Not invasive FIGIS, 2005
Costa RicaLocalisedNative Not invasive FIGIS, 2005
CubaLocalisedNative Not invasive FIGIS, 2005
Puerto RicoPresentNative Not invasive FIGIS, 2005

South America

BrazilWidespreadNative Not invasive FIGIS, 2005

Europe

DenmarkPresentIntroduced1880 Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
FrancePresentIntroduced1861 Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
IrelandPresentIntroducedpre-1939 Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
NetherlandsPresentIntroduced1939 Not invasive Kennedy et al., 1996
SpainPresentIntroducedFIGIS, 2005
UKPresentIntroduced Not invasive FAO, 2005; FIGIS, 2005; FAO, 2007; FAO, 2007

Oceania

FijiPresentNative Not invasive FAO, 2007

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
British Columbia USA 1880 Fisheries (pathway cause)UnknownKennedy et al. (1996); Kennedy, et al. (1996)
California USA 1875 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No Kennedy et al. (1996); Kennedy, et al. (1996)
Denmark USA 1880 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No Kennedy et al. (1996); Kennedy, et al. (1996)
Fiji Hawaii Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No FIGIS (2005)
France USA 1861 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No Kennedy et al. (1996); Kennedy, et al. (1996)
Hawaii USA 1866 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown Yes Yes Kennedy et al. (1996); Kennedy, et al. (1996)
Ireland USA pre-1939 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No Kennedy et al. (1996); Kennedy, et al. (1996)
Japan USA UnknownFIGIS (2005)
Netherlands USA 1939 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No Kennedy et al. (1996); Kennedy, et al. (1996)
Oregon USA 1870 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No Kennedy et al. (1996); Kennedy, et al. (1996)
Spain USA Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No FIGIS (2005)
Tonga USA 1973 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFIGIS (2005)
UK USA 1939 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No FIGIS (2005)
UK Canada 1939 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No FIGIS (2005)
UK USA 1984 Fisheries (pathway cause)Government No No FIGIS (2005)
Washington USA 1890 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown Yes Yes Kennedy et al. (1996); Kennedy, et al. (1996)

Habitat

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Although oysters are capable of surviving in a wide range of habitat conditions, the preferred habitat (general range) conditions in areas where C. virginica are common, based largely on Shumway (1996) and Hargis and Haven (1999) and others noted (EOBRT, 2007), are considered to be:

Depth: 0.6-2.0 m (range 0-11 m) in Canadian waters (Jenkins et al., 1997 in EOBRT, 2007); mostly between 0.6-5.0 m in mid-Atlantic States waters (MacKenzie, 1996 as in EOBRT, 2007) although oysters commonly inter-tidally south of Maryland (Burrell, 1997 in EOBRT, 2007) and in deeper waters in some areas, e.g., to 8 m in Chesapeake Bay (MacKenzie, 1997a in EOBRT, 2007); 0.0-4.0 m in Gulf of Mexico (MacKenzie and Wakida-Kusunoki, 1997; Dugas et al., 1997 (all in EOBRT, 2007)).

Salinity: larvae (10-27.5ppt; 17.5ppt optimum for Long Island Sound stock (Calabrese and Davis, 1970 in EOBRT, 2007)), adults (normally ~5-40ppt).

Temperature: larvae (optimum ~20.0-32.5°C) (Calabrese and Davis, 1970 in EOBRT, 2007); adults optimum temperatures range from 20 to 30°C (Stanley and Sellers, 1986), survival under extremes from –2 to 36°C, and to 49°C for short periods of time (EOBRT, 2007).

Substrate: larvae (clean hard or shell substrate), adults (various substrates, including mud, that support their growing or accumulative community weight) (Jenkins et al., 1997 in EOBRT, 2007).

Geomorphology: sheltered drowned river valleys and bar-built lagoonal estuaries (MacKenzie and Wakida-Kusunoki, 1997 in EOBRT, 2007).

pH: larvae, normally 6.75-8.75 (Calabrese and Davis, 1966 in EOBRT, 2007).

Tidal range: 0.5 m (in restricted lagoons or upper estuaries) to 2.7 m (Gulf of St. Lawrence; Jenkins et al., 1997 in EOBRT, 2007).

DO: ~20-100% saturation (EOBRT, 2007).

Hydrographic Circulation: such as to cause oyster larvae to remain near existing reefs but with enough exchange to maintain good food supply and near neutral silt balance on the oyster reef/beds (Lenihan, 1999 in EOBRT, 2007). Sensitivity analyses of some bivalve populations suggest that their population stability and growth rates are more sensitive to changes in larval survival and recruitment than they are to adult survivorship or fecundity (Brousseau, 2005 in EOBRT, 2007), except perhaps when disease (parasite) infection rates are high (EOBRT, 2007).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Brackish
Inland saline areas Principal habitat Natural
Inland saline areas Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Estuaries Principal habitat Natural
Estuaries Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Lagoons Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Lagoons Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Industrial / intensive livestock production systems Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Buildings Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Principal habitat Natural
Wetlands Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Arid regions Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Principal habitat Natural
Coastal areas Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Mangroves Principal habitat Natural
Mangroves Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Mud flats Principal habitat Natural
Mud flats Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Intertidal zone Principal habitat Natural
Intertidal zone Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Salt marshes Principal habitat Natural
Salt marshes Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Ponds Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Marine
Inshore marine Principal habitat Natural
Inshore marine Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Coral reefs Principal habitat Natural
Pelagic zone (offshore) Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Environmental Requirements

Temperature, salinity, and food availability greatly influence oyster growth, and therefore, rates vary seasonally at a given latitude with maximum growth occurring during the summer and autumn. The minimum temperature reported for growth of oyster larvae was 17.5°C (Hofstetter, 1977 in EOBRT, 2007). C. virginica have been reported to survive freezing temperatures in shallow-water habitats and after being exposed to temperatures in excess of 45°C in intertidal areas (Galtsoff, 1964; Shumway, 1996 in EOBRT, 2007). However, exposures to temperatures above approximately 35°C will adversely affect pumping rate and thereby feeding (Loosanoff, 1958; Galtsoff, 1928; in EOBRT, 2007). Growth of oysters in the higher latitudinal regions stops or slows during winter (Loosanoff and Nomejko, 1949 in EOBRT, 2007). Oysters are capable of growth throughout the year in the Gulf region but optimum temperatures range from 20 to 30°C (Stanley and Sellers, 1986 in EOBRT, 2007).

Oysters can tolerate salinities from 0 to 42 psu, but the optimum range is 14 to 28 psu (Quast et al., 1988; Shumway, 1996 in EOBRT, 2007). A minimum salinity of 10 psu is required for growth with little growth occurring at salinities less than 5 psu (Shumway, 1996 in EOBRT, 2007). Mortalities usually only occur when water temperatures exceed 30°C in the summer (P Banks, personal communication, 2006 in EOBRT, 2007).

Natural Food Sources

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Food SourceLife StageContribution to Total Food Intake (%)Details
phytoplankton/micro algae Adult/Broodstock/Larval up to 100

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Tolerated Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Tolerated < 860mm precipitation annually
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
D - Continental/Microthermal climate Tolerated Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)
Df - Continental climate, wet all year Tolerated Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Tolerated Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -2 49.5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 30
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 30 45
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 8 20

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) 19.1 Optimum Adult
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) 19.1 Optimum Broodstock
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) 19.1 Optimum Egg
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) 19.1 Optimum Larval
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) 19.1 Optimum Fry
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) Optimum 0.00mg/L is preferred, adult Crassostrea virginica have a median ammonia tolerance limit (96-h TLm) of 0.082
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) Optimum 0.00mg/L is preferred
Bicarbonate (mg/l) Harmful Egg
Depth (m b.s.l.) Optimum 0.6-2.0 (Canadian waters), 0.6-5.0 (mid-Atlantic waters), 8.0 (Chesapeake Bay), 0-0.4 (Gulf of Mexico)
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) <2.4 Harmful Adult
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) Optimum <2.4mg/l is harmful, can tolerate anerobic conditions after spawning for 3 days
Salinity (part per thousand) >12 Optimum Adult
Salinity (part per thousand) >12 Optimum Fry
Salinity (part per thousand) >7 Optimum Broodstock
Salinity (part per thousand) 16 30 Optimum Egg
Salinity (part per thousand) 3 31 Optimum Larval
Salinity (part per thousand) 14-28 Optimum 7 required for spawning, 16-30 needed for embryo development, 3-31 needed for larval development, >12 optimum growth, 0-40 tolerated
Spawning temperature (ºC temperature) <10 >30 Harmful Broodstock
Spawning temperature (ºC temperature) 20 24 Optimum Broodstock
Turbidity (JTU turbidity) 00.6-2.0 Optimum
Water pH (pH) <6.5 >9.0 Harmful Egg
Water pH (pH) 6.8 8.8 Optimum Egg
Water pH (pH) 8.2 8.5 Optimum Adult
Water pH (pH) 8.2 8.5 Optimum Broodstock
Water pH (pH) 8.2 8.5 Optimum Larval
Water pH (pH) 8.2 8.5 Optimum Fry
Water pH (pH) 8.2-8.6 Optimum 6.8-8.8 = embryo development, <6.8 and >9.0 = abnormal development, 8.2-8.5 = optimum growth occurs
Water temperature (ºC temperature) >32.5 Harmful Egg
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 49.5 Harmful Adult
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 49.5 Harmful Broodstock
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 15 18 Optimum Larval
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 20 25 Optimum Adult
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 20 25 Optimum Broodstock
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 20 27 Optimum Egg
Water temperature (ºC temperature) Optimum Prefer clear water but will survive high turbidity for short periods of time

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Amphibalanus improvisus Predator Larval Kennedy et al., 1996
Archosargus probatocephalus Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Asterias Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Busycon contrarium Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Callinectes sapidus Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Cancer irroratus Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Ciona intestinalis Predator Larval Kennedy et al., 1996
Cliona Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Ctenophora Predator Larval Kennedy et al., 1996
Diadumene leucolena Predator Larval Kennedy et al., 1996
Eupleura caudata Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Gobiosoma bosc Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Homarus americanus Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Melongena corona Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Menippe mercenaria Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Opsanus tau Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Panopeus herbstii Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Paralichthys dentatus Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Pogonias cromis Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Polydora ligni Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Polydora websteri Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Raja Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Rhinoptera bonasus Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Scyphozoa Predator Larval Kennedy et al., 1996
Stramonita haemastoma Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Styela clava Predator Larval Kennedy et al., 1996
Stylochus ellipticus Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Stylochus frontalis Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996
Urosalpinx cinerea Predator Adult/Broodstock/Fry Kennedy et al., 1996

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections Positive
Animal/plant products Positive
Environment (generally) Positive
Native fauna Positive
Native flora Positive
Tourism Positive
Transport/travel Positive

Environmental Impact

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In addition to providing habitat to many other species, and attachment substrate for other oysters, oyster reefs serve other important functions. Oysters are filter feeders and, because of their tremendous filtering capacity, they greatly enhance water clarity and quality. Oyster reefs in the USA are not only unique ecosystems that support multitudes of other organisms, but they are a valuable food source and constitute important commercial fisheries (NOAA, 2007). A decrease in the population number could dramatically affect the quality of the natural waters.

Culture of C. virginica provides the water area with a natural filtering system. The oyster filters waste products and even agricultural run-off. Aquaculture techniques are being used for environmental remediation and fishery enhancement for C. virginica. In the past years, C. virginica has been over-harvested. Oyster culturing involves planting seed and allowing it to grow to marketable size. During the time the oyster is growing, they are reproducing. Culturing oysters also provides a suitable substrate for oyster spat to attach. This plays a role in the continuing availability of new oyster seed.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of natural benthic communities
  • Modification of nutrient regime
Impact mechanisms
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Filtration
  • Fouling
  • Rapid growth

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed

Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Biological control
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Host of pest
  • Ornamental
  • Revegetation
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Windbreak

General

  • Capital accumulation
  • Laboratory use
  • Research model
  • Sociocultural value
  • Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)

Human food and beverage

  • Canned meat
  • Eggs (roe)
  • Fresh meat
  • Frozen meat
  • Live product for human consumption
  • Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)
  • Whole

Materials

  • Fertilizer
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Shell

Ornamental

  • Propagation material

References

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Abbott RT, 1974. American Seashells: The Marine Mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of North America. New York, USA: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 663 pp.

Alexandratos N, 1995. World Agriculture: towards 2010. Rome, Italy: FAO. Online. www.fao.org. Accessed 10 April 2005.

Allen Jr SK; Gaffney PM; Ewart JW, 1993. Genetic Improvement of the Eastern Oyster for Growth and Disease Resistance in the Northeast. Online. http://aquanic.org. Accessed 11 May 2005.

Avault Jr JW, 1996. Fundamentals of Aquaculture. Baton Rouge, LA, USA, 128, 245, 460, 504, 521, 615, 621, 624, 633, 660, 763.

Bahr LM, 1967. Effects of repeated shill damage on gametogenesis in the American oyster Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin). Proc. Natl. Shellfish. Assoc, 57:59-62.

Bahr LM; Lanier WP, 1981. The ecology of intertidal oyster reefs of the South Atlantic Coast. The ecology of intertidal oyster reefs of the South Atlantic Coast. Washington, D.C. National Coastal Ecosystems Team (U.S.), unpaginated.

Baldwin BS; Newell RIE, 1991. Omnivorous feeding by planktotrophic larvae of the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser, 78:285-301.

Baldwin BS; Newell RIE, 1995. Feeding rate responses of oyster larvae (Crassostrea virginica) to seston quality and composition. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol, 189:77-91.

Baldwin BS; Newell RIE, 1995. Relative importance of different size food particles in the natural diet of oyster larvae (Crassostrea virginica). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser, 120:135-145.

Barney W, 2000. Taxonomy of the Phylum Mollusca. Online. http://www.manandmollusc.net. Accessed 2 April 2005.

BC Shellfish Growers Association, 2003. Entry for eastern oyster. Online. http://www.bcsga.ca. Accessed 1 June 2005.

Berrigan ME, 1988. Management of oyster resources in Apalachicola Bay following Hurricane Elena. Journal of Shellfish Research, 7(2):281-288.

Berrigan ME, 1990. Biological and economic assessment of an oyster resource development project in Apalachicola Bay, Florida. Journal of Shellfish Research, 9(1):149-158.

Berrigan ME; Candies T; Cirino J; Dugas R; Dyer C; Gray J; Herrington T; Keithly W; Leard R; Nelson JR; Hoose NVan, 1991. The oyster fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, United States: A regional management plan. Number 24, March 1991. The oyster fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, United States: A regional management plan. Number 24, March 1991. Ocean Springs, MS: Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, unpaginated.

Breitburg DL; Coen LD; Luckenbach MW; Posey M; Wesson JA, 2000. Oyster reef restoration: convergence of harvest and conservation strategies. Journal of Shellfish Research, 19(1):371-377.

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Eastern Oyster Biological Review Team Reporthttp://www.noaa.gov
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Associationhttp://www.noaa.gov

Contributors

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09/11/2007 Updated by:

Janet Hanson, Carteret Community College, Morehead City, 3505 Arendell Street, NC 28557, USA

16/05/2005 Original text by:

Janet Hanson, Carteret Community College, Morehead City, 3505 Arendell Street, NC 28557, USA

Main Author
Philip Kemp
Aquaculture Technology Program, Carteret Community College, 3505 Arendell Street, 301 College Circle, Morehead City, NC 28557, USA

Joint Author
Janet Hanson

Distribution Maps

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