Since 1995, hatchery-produced juvenile oysters have been planted on numerous natural oyster bars in Maryland in an effort to restore degraded reefs. As part of the monitoring effort, 27 discrete hatchery plantings spanning 10 y of restoration were sampled during late summer and fall 2009. Oyster shell height, dry meat weight, shell weight, and clump height all increased significantly with age. Perkinsus marinus infections were low in all sampled populations, but increased with ago. These data enable estimates of growth and shell production rates, and highlight the low prevalence of disease in restored Maryland oyster populations. The longevity of these dense patches suggests that local metapopulation restoration may provide substantial ecological services. The trends presented in this study may provide valuable insights for refining management tools, adapting ongoing restoration, and improving population modeling efforts.
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Vol. 29 • No. 2