We have just had two new papers published in the open-access journal PeerJ! We feel very strongly that research should be publicly available, so we are making increased efforts to publish all manuscripts in journals that offer open-access. This means that we pay money to publish but that everyone can read about our work, not just academics with subscriptions to journals.
The first paper looks at what happens to fishes and invertebrates when an oyster reef is restored in coastal Louisiana. If it is built, will they come? We found that there is an increase in fish and invertebrate biomass, which means higher commercial fishery value. While these numbers were low per square meter of restored reef, they should be considered within a larger portfolio of ecosystem services provided by restoration activities (e.g., recreational value, cultural importance). For more info and to read the paper, head on over to the PeerJ webpage.
The second paper assesses the ability of restored oyster reefs to reduce salt marsh erosion in Louisiana. We combined data from 5 different projects and found that reefs were most effective at reducing shoreline loss in high wave energy environments. This is a bit of good news in the context of larger land loss issues in coastal Louisiana. We combined this analysis with a habitat suitability index to display optimal areas where oyster restoration may be successful at recruiting and maintaining a viable oyster population (as a result of optimal salinity, temperature, etc.) and reduce erosion. Combining these types of analyses are important if managers are to provide tangible benefits over the long-term. This paper can be found here.