This project will assess the ecosystem services of shellfish farming by measuring impacts of newly established farms in the North Carolina Research Reserve. Because there is an opportunity to assess conditions before farm installation, North Carolina estuaries provide an ideal place to measure these effects. Two years of intensive sampling in and adjacent to oyster farms, concentrating on wild shellfish resources and the physical and chemical environment will aim to link small-scale changes with large-scale ecosystem-level alterations. Coastal managers, state agencies, and shellfish farmers will provide input throughout the course of the project to ensure that the study parameters align with decision-making needs. The project will culminate with the production of visualization tools and models to allow resource managers, culturists, and reserve staff members to make better decisions when determining the locations and scales of shellfish farming operations.
Keywords: NEERS research, North Carolina Research Reserve, Shellfish farming, Oyster