SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL TRENDS IN CONDITION INDEX OF SAPELO ISLAND, GEORGIA OYSTERS (CRASSOSTREA VIRGINICA)
Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) are an important part of coastal ecosystems, providing a habitat for other organisms, filtering the water of harmful microorganisms and excessive nutrients, and stabilizing tidal creek banks. Oyster populations have declined due to stressors resulting from human influences such as overharvesting, coastal development, and climate change. To examine oyster population health on coastal Georgia, we used a condition index (CI), which is widely used to assess environmental effects on bivalve meat quality. Oysters were collected from three sites with different temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll regimes on Sapelo Island, GA. Oysters were collected during fall 2021, and winter, spring, and summer of 2022. We predicted oysters from the sites with stable conditions and abundant food would have the highest CI. After collection, oysters were cleaned, separated, and measured. The oysters were then weighed both with their wet and dry shell and tissue weight; a condition index was calculated to compare the health of oysters at our three sites. We found that the site with the highest condition index varied throughout the year and that there was no significant difference among sites over the course of the year. There was a significant difference (p < 0.001) among the months; oysters were healthiest in the warmer months versus the cooler months. In the warmer months food is greater in abundance and the water temperature and salinity may be more optimal for oyster growth, leading to the differences observed.
Huneke, Rebekah M.; Wright, MacEva; Schulze, Jill; and Dalman, Nancy
"SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL TRENDS IN CONDITION INDEX OF SAPELO ISLAND, GEORGIA OYSTERS (CRASSOSTREA VIRGINICA),"
Georgia Journal of Science, Vol. 81, No. 1, Article 20.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.gaacademy.org/gjs/vol81/iss1/20