Invertebrate response to eelgrass and oyster restoration in San Francisco Estuary

This research was conducted to monitor the response of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities to the restoration of intertidal habitat, including eelgrass (Zostera marina) and native oyster reefs (Ostrea lurida) in the San Francisco Estuary. Plots of each habitat-forming species, alone and interspersed, were established in 2012 and quarterly invertebrate monitoring was conducted for one year prior to restoration (fall 2011 — summer 2012), and post restoration (fall 2012 - summer 2014) using trapping, vacuum sampling, and eelgrass shoot collection. Results were intended to inform the degree to which restored eelgrass and oyster reef habitat, alone and together, promote colonization and use by invertebrates, and if epiphytic invertebrate assemblages vary significantly between natural and restored eelgrass beds. Within two years, correspondence analysis revealed that eelgrass and oyster reefs supported unique invertebrate assemblage composition as compared to pre-treatment and control plots, and that the composition was intermediate in combined eelgrass/oyster plots. Restored eelgrass did not establish an assemblage equivalent to natural beds; several invertebrates beneficial to eelgrass growth, including Phyllaplysia taylori and Pentidotea resecata, remained absent or very rare.