Using an ecosystem service model to inform restoration planning: A spatially explicit oyster filtration model for Pensacola Bay, Florida

Philine S. E. Zu ermgassen, Jonathan Gair, Brandon Jarvis, Laura Geselbracht, Anne Birch, Whitney a. Scheffel, Kent Smith, Bryan Deangelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The development of science-based restoration goals that reflect the primary motivation of stakeholders is a key factor leading to large-scale, long-term restoration successes. The ability to predict the potential ecosystem service delivery from restoration can inform the setting of appropriate goals and facilitate the strategic planning of restoration activities. While recovery of the ecosystem services provided by oyster reefs is a regularly cited reason for undertaking restoration, few examples exist where large-scale oyster habitat restoration plans have been informed using ecosystem service functions. Such an approach is currently being implemented in the Pensacola Bay System, Florida, where a broad coalition of partners and community stakeholders are utilizing a watershed approach to restoring oysters with the aim of restoring oysters for multiple objectives including habitat, ecosystem services, and wild harvest and aquaculture. Through the process of developing a habitat management plan, water filtration was identified as a key ecosystem service by the stakeholders. To support restoration planning we derived a spatially explicit estimate of water filtration services provided by the eastern oyster in the Pensacola Bay system by linking an oyster habitat suitability map to a hydrodynamic-oyster filtration model. This spatially explicit model allowed us to identify the areas where restored oyster reefs have the potential to provide the greatest increase in filtration service as well as provide spatially explicit estimates of the potential filtration provided by oyster habitat restored. Such information is useful in restoration planning and management and for stakeholder engagement, outreach, and education programs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13061
JournalConservation Science and Practice
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Crassostrea virginica
  • eastern oyster
  • ecosystem service
  • filtration
  • goals


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