Date of Award

Fall 1976

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Anthony J. Provenzano

Committee Member

Ronald E. Johnson

Committee Member

V. G. Burrell, Jr.

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35 A54


Certain physical, chemical and biological characteristics associated with the culture of subtidal Crassostrea virginica were assessed in a salt water impoundment and its adjacent tidal feeder creek. Large seed oysters (initial y = 57.3 mm) were transferred from a somewhat polluted estuary of Charleston Harbor to floating, mid-water, and bottom hardware cloth trays (200/tray) in a four hectare pond. Identical trays at comparable depths were placed in the tidal creek and each location was sampled monthly for growth and survival. Surface and bottom water samples were collected weekly throughout the study and hourly during four seasonal 25 hour stations. Standard hydrographic parameters (temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, light penetration, and turbidity) were measured along with chlorophyll a, phytoplankton, dissolved and particulate carbohydrates, nutrients (nitrates, nitrites, orthophosphates and silicates), current velocities, and thioglycollate assays for Labyrinthomyxa marina.

Over a 12 month period, oyster growth was significantly (a= 0.01) greater in the pond than the creek. Best growth in the impoundment occurred in floating trays; poorest in bottom trays. Growth and survival were higher in winter and lower in summer in both environments.

Higher levels of chlorophyll a, carbohydrates, pH, and dissolved oxygen were consistently observed in the impoundment. Lower comparative nutrient values in the pond together with higher biomass levels indicated a more favorable environment for autotrophic production. Greater oyster production in the pond was directly related to a higher instantaneous biomass maintained throughout the year. This relationship was supported by indications of an inverse correlation between nutrient concentrations and the instantaneous biomass. Nutrient and biomass data indicated an apparent NO3 limited system.


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