Crassostrea virginica dredge efficiency in Texas estuaries
Pollack, Jennifer Beseres
Palmer, Terence A.
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Quantifying and comparing stocks of oysters (Crassostrea virginica) within and among estuaries across the Gulf of Mexico is difficult because the sampling equipment used is either inconsistent among studies, or inefficient. In Texas, USA, stock assessments of oyster populations are made using an oyster dredge, which is an inefficient sampling tool. We compared sampling densities estimated by oyster dredges with more accurate estimates taken by diver-quadrat samples to determine a dredge efficiency rate. Our calculated efficiency rate (0.125) was negatively affected by the number of dead oysters, and the number and volume of total oysters in an area, but not affected by sediment grain size, water quality, and other oyster metrics. The dredge efficiency rate calculated in this study can be applied to past and future dredge-collected oyster quantity data to provide more realistic estimates of oyster densities and allow more accurate stock assessments and comparisons among studies and regions.