Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE03-460.
The goal of this study was to elucidate the productive capacity of the Damariscotta River for oyster farming. This was done by studying the temporal dynamics of seston food supply, transport and consumption by oysters on the POC growing beds. This was done by 1) documenting and monitoring the phytoplankton flux using chlorophyll a) as a algal biomass. 2) Determining the bathymetric characteristics of the sea bed. 3) Estimating the tidal currents in the vicinity of the oyster beds. 4) Determining the feeding rates of oysters under both natural conditions and in individual feeding chambers using natural phytoplankton assemblages. This project resulted in the production of a bathymetric chart for the POC bottom leases. Tidal currents were determined to be ebb flow dominated with twice the velocity on the ebb verses the flood tides. Observations of seston depletion downstream of the growing beds account of approximately 10% reduction in levels of food availability. Finally, feeding studies of individual oysters, enabled us to estimate the overall volume of water processed by oysters on our farm. These results will assist us in improving our husbandry practices as well as our overall farm management.