Abstract:

Bivalve habitats have, until recent times, been generally overlooked as an important estuary habitat type. Historically, complex, three-dimensional habitats made up of dense aggregations of bivalves, their shells, associated species, and accumulated sediments were a dominant habitat type in temperate and subtropical estuaries around the world (Stenzel, 1971). These habitats were generally engineered by oyster (generally referred to as reefs) or mussel (generally referred to as beds) species. Until recent times these habitats were primarily managed as an important fisheries resource. Their historical extent and importance are difficult to estimate because bivalve habitats were often decimated before fisheries records were collected systematically, and there may be no remaining visible functioning bivalve habitats. Through the process of historical amnesia, or shifting baselines, successive generations of local people, and managers have grown accustomed to the new norm and have forgotten about the former abundant bivalve habitats

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