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Article

Biodegradable Material for Oyster Reef Restoration: First-Year Performance and Biogeochemical Considerations in a Coastal Lagoon

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Aquatic Biogeochemistry Lab, Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Bldg. 20, BIO 301, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
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Coastal and Estuarine Ecology Lab, Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Bldg. 20, BIO 301, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
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School of Oceanography, University of Washington, 1503 NE Boat St., Seattle, WA 98195, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Changwoo Ahn
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7415; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137415
Received: 4 June 2021 / Revised: 23 June 2021 / Accepted: 24 June 2021 / Published: 2 July 2021
Oyster reef restoration efforts increasingly consider not only oyster recruitment, but also the recovery of ecological functions and the prevention of deploying harmful plastics. This study investigated the efficacy of a biodegradable plastic-alternative, BESE-elements®, in supporting oyster reef restoration in east-central Florida (USA) with consideration for how this material also influences biogeochemistry. Four experiments (two laboratory, two field-based) were conducted to evaluate the ability of BESE to serve as a microbial substrate, release nutrients, support oyster recruitment and the development of sediment biogeochemical properties on restored reefs, and degrade under field conditions. The results indicated BESE is as successful as traditional plastic in supporting initial reef development. In the lab, BESE accelerated short-term (10-day) sediment respiration rates 14-fold and released dissolved organic carbon, soluble reactive phosphorus, and nitrate to the surface water (71,156, 1980, and 87% increase, respectively) relative to without BESE, but these effects did not translate into measurable changes in reef sediment nutrient pools under field conditions. BESE lost 7–12% mass in the first year, resulting in a half-life of 4.4–6.7 years. Restoration practitioners should evaluate the biogeochemical properties of biodegradable materials prior to large-scale deployment and consider the fate of the restoration effort once the material degrades. View Full-Text
Keywords: Crassostrea virginica; coastal restoration; BESE-elements; biogeochemistry; Indian River Lagoon Crassostrea virginica; coastal restoration; BESE-elements; biogeochemistry; Indian River Lagoon
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nitsch, C.K.; Walters, L.J.; Sacks, J.S.; Sacks, P.E.; Chambers, L.G. Biodegradable Material for Oyster Reef Restoration: First-Year Performance and Biogeochemical Considerations in a Coastal Lagoon. Sustainability 2021, 13, 7415. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137415

AMA Style

Nitsch CK, Walters LJ, Sacks JS, Sacks PE, Chambers LG. Biodegradable Material for Oyster Reef Restoration: First-Year Performance and Biogeochemical Considerations in a Coastal Lagoon. Sustainability. 2021; 13(13):7415. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137415

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nitsch, Chelsea K., Linda J. Walters, Joshua S. Sacks, Paul E. Sacks, and Lisa G. Chambers 2021. "Biodegradable Material for Oyster Reef Restoration: First-Year Performance and Biogeochemical Considerations in a Coastal Lagoon" Sustainability 13, no. 13: 7415. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137415

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