Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Due to over harvesting and habitat destruction 85% of oyster reef populations have been lost globally over the past several decades. Apart from being a keystone species, oysters provide many ecosystem services that make them near perfect for living shorelines; a recent ecological engineering design strategy that naturally stabilizes the shoreline as well as provides protection for intertidal environments. Oyster reefs increase wave attenuation protecting the shoreline environment from intense wave action in addition to the reef's ability to cause sediment accretion; not just protecting shoreline environments but expanding them as well. Oysters produce baby oysters called spat that require a substrate to attach to in order to grow. Ordinarily, other oysters in the reef provide such substrate but with reef populations being over-harvested, much of the spat doesn't have an appropriate surface to bind to. In the ACE Basin area a lack of substrate rather than spat is hindering oyster reef development. In an attempt to protect coastal shorelines as well as rehabilitate oyster reef populations within the ACE Basin area lightweight, biologically-compatible structures have been designed and implemented to provide the necessary substrate for oyster spat attachment.


Poster presentation at Clemson University 10th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry Forum, Clemson, SC.