Site selection for European native oyster (Ostrea edulis) habitat restoration projects: An expert-derived consensus

Anna Hughes, Kruno Bonačić, Tom Cameron, Ken Collins, Fiz da Costa, Alison Debney, Luca van Duren, Jesper Elzinga, José M. Fariñas-Franco, Celine Gamble, Luke David Helmer, Zoë Holbrook, Eric Holden, Katherine Knight, James A. J. Murphy, Bernadette Pogoda, Stephane Pouvreau, Joanne Preston, Alec Reid, Emilie Reuchlin-HugenholtzWilliam G. Sanderson, David Smyth, Brecht Stechele, Asa Strand, John A. Theodorou, Matt Uttley, Ben Wray, Philine S. E. zu Ermgassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

1. The European native oyster (Ostrea edulis) is a threatened keystone species which historically created extensive, physically complex biogenic habitats throughout European seas.
2. Overfishing and direct habitat destruction, subsequently compounded by pollution, invasive species, disease, predation and climate change have resulted in functional extinction of native oyster habitat across much of its former range.
3. Although oyster reef habitat remains imperilled, active restoration efforts are rapidly gaining momentum. Identifying appropriate sites for habitat restoration is a fundamental precondition for long-term project success.
4. In this study, a three round Delphi process was conducted to determine the most important factors to consider in site selection for European native oyster habitat restoration projects.
5. Consensus was reached on a total of 65 factors as being important to consider in site selection for European native oyster habitat restoration projects. In addition to the abiotic factors typically included in habitat suitability models, socioeconomic and logistical factors were found to be important. Determining the temporal and spatial variability of threats to native oyster habitat restoration and understanding the biotic factors present at a proposed restoration site also influence the potential for project scale-up and longevity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 26 May 2022

Keywords

  • abiotic factor
  • biotic factor
  • socioeconomic factor
  • Delphi
  • project logistics
  • threats

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