Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 65–78 | Cite as

Upstream—Downstream Shifts in Peak Recruitment of the Native Olympia Oyster in San Francisco Bay During Wet and Dry Years

  • Andrew L. Chang
  • Anna K. Deck
  • Lindsay J. Sullivan
  • Steven G. Morgan
  • Matthew C. Ferner


Understanding the conditions that drive variation in recruitment of key estuarine species can be important for effective conservation and management of their populations. The Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) is native to the Pacific coast of North America and has been a target of conservation efforts, though relatively little information on larval recruitment exists across much of its range. This study examined the recruitment of Olympia oysters at biweekly to monthly intervals at four sites in northern San Francisco Bay from 2010 to 2015 (except 2013). Mean monthly temperatures warmed at all sites during the study, while winter (January–April) mean monthly salinity decreased significantly during a wet year (2011), but otherwise remained high as a result of a drought. A recurring peak in oyster recruitment was identified in mid-estuary, in conditions corresponding to a salinity range of 25–30 and >16 °C at the time of settlement (April–November). Higher average salinities and temperatures were positively correlated with greater peak recruitment. Interannual variation in the timing of favorable conditions for recruitment at each site appears to explain geographic and temporal variation in recruitment onset. Higher winter/spring salinities and warmer temperatures at the time of recruitment corresponded with earlier recruitment onset within individual sites. Across all sites, higher winter/spring salinities were also correlated with earlier onset and earlier peak recruitment. Lower winter salinities during 2011 also resulted in a downstream shift in the location of peak recruitment.


Larval supply Oyster Salinity Larval settlement Recruitment Estuary 



This work was supported by postdoctoral fellowships to ALC from the CALFED Bay-Delta Authority (R/SF-33) and the Smithsonian Institution, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative (NOAA grant no. NA09NOS4190153 to MCF), and an award under the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act, administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management to San Francisco State University for operation of the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The authors would like to express sincere gratitude to the Dominican University of California (San Rafael, CA) Invertebrate Zoology (BIO3150, Fall 2011) and Aquatic Ecosystems (HONO3200, Spring 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016) classes taught by LJS for their devoted counting of oyster recruitment tiles.

Author Contributions

ALC, SGM, and MCF obtained funding; ALC, AKD, SGM, and MCF designed the research; ALC, AKD, LJS, and MCF performed the work; ALC analyzed the data; and ALC, AKD, LJS, SGM, and MCF wrote the paper.

Supplementary material

12237_2016_182_MOESM1_ESM.docx (568 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 567 kb)


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew L. Chang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Anna K. Deck
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Lindsay J. Sullivan
    • 5
  • Steven G. Morgan
    • 4
  • Matthew C. Ferner
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Smithsonian Environmental Research CenterTiburonUSA
  2. 2.San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research ReserveTiburonUSA
  3. 3.San Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Bodega Marine Laboratory and Department of Environmental Science and PolicyUniversity of California DavisBodega BayUSA
  5. 5.Dominican University of CaliforniaSan RafaelUSA

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