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Bivalves in Kachemak Bay: Applying Lessons Learned from Restoration Along the Pacific Coast

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM - Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM (AKDT)

Bivalves in Kachemak Bay: Applying Lessons Learned...

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Bivalves in Kachemak Bay:  

Applying Lessons Learned from Restoration Along the Pacific Coast



Climate-related changes to the ocean are emerging as a global problem. While the extent of these effects is currently unknown, there could be possible threat to Alaska commercial fisheries which are valued at approximately $4 billion. As ocean conditions continue to change, better information and tools may be needed to develop bivalve populations resiliency and maintain their productivity for current and future generations. 


Please mark your calendar for this two-day workshop to learn about ongoing oyster restoration efforts from west coast National Estuarine Research Reserves and discuss knowledge transferability to Kachemak Bay. The existing body of native bivalve and oyster-related research and monitoring in Kachemak Bay will be explored, with an emphasis on recommended options for future research and monitoring, strategies, and applications to restoration planning in the future. Through presentations, facilitated discussions, and group consensus-building, participants will identify future action items, strategies, resources and partnerships to achieve robust and resilient bivalve populations that provide valuable ecological services.



  • Hear and discuss lessons learned from oyster research and restoration efforts at three National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRS) in California and Oregon.                                                                                                                                                                 
  • Provide information exchange about native bivalve and oyster research and monitoring activities in Kachemak Bay.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Identify knowledge gaps and research, monitoring, and strategies needed to maintain sustainable harvests and productive habitats.                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  • Encourage coordination among researchers, shellfish growers, and natural resource managers to support the planning for restoration of depressed natural populations as well as maintain sustainable and resilient populations in Kachemak Bay.


Who Should Attend: Scientists, resource managers, harvesters and growers involved in researching, monitoring, managing, growing and harvesting bivalves in southcentral Alaska.


Special Presentations

Investigators from three west coast National Estuarine Research Reserve’s, including Elkhorn Slough NERR and San Francisco Bay NERR in California and South Slough NERR in Oregon, will share knowledge generated from multidisciplinary projects focused on climate change and native oyster populations. More information is below.


Planning for oyster restoration in the face of climate change

California’s San Francisco Bay and Elkhorn Slough Reserves have teamed up with local partners to develop science-based tools to support native Olympia oyster restoration efforts in the face of climate change. Unfortunately, native oyster populations along the Pacific Coast are in decline, in part because of overharvesting and human activities. Oysters also may be threatened by climate-related changes in water salinity, temperature, and acidity—all of which can reduce their growth and survival.


Over the past decade, this decline has prompted native oyster restoration projects in San Francisco Bay and Elkhorn Slough. Managers and decision-makers involved in these projects face the complex challenge of designing conservation and restoration strategies that will enable oyster populations to prove resilient as changes in climate interact with the influence of human activities to impact coastal ecosystems.


A multidisciplinary team has explored the influence of human activities and climate change on native Olympia oyster populations. This research aims to develop a targeted set of decision tools for user groups involved with oyster restoration. Specifically, the team has been working for the past several years to address these questions:

  • How do different stressors influence oyster survival and growth? Are negative impacts from climate-related stressors greater or lesser than those from other human-induced stressors?   
  • How do these different stressors interact?                                                                                  
  • How do larval dispersal and recruitment interact with variation in environmental stressors over space and time?



Matt Ferner, PhD: Dr. Matt Ferner is the Research Coordinator at the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Tiburon, CA. He is a principal investigator for the Planning for Oyster Restoration project at San Francisco Bay NERR. Matt is broadly interested in how the physical environment affects organism behavior and performance. In particular, his research targets the consequences of water motion and habitat structure for the trophic ecology of marine invertebrates.


Ted Grosholz, PhD: Dr. Ted Grosholz is a professor at the University of California, Davis and Cooperative Extension Specialist for healthy, productive coastal habitats. He has been involved with research around the restoration of native Olympia oysters under climate change with the San Francisco Bay and Elkhorn Slough NERR. This research has focused on the addressing climate change in the context of both limiting populations of native Olympia oysters as well as efforts to restore their populations. Ted and his graduate students work to examine the influence of multiple climate change variables including sea surface and air temperatures, dissolved oxygen (hypoxia), and salinity on native Olympia oysters in both the lab and field settings.


Brian Cheng: Brian Cheng is a finishing doctoral student in the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis. For his dissertation, Brian examined the influence of climate change and invasive species upon native Olympia oysters in California estuaries. Prior to graduate school, Brian worked as an aquarist for the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, CA. When Brian isn't raising live oysters for his dissertation, he likes to eat barbecued oysters (but not the experimental ones).




Bringing the "Oly" Oyster back to Oregon's Coos Bay

Bringing the “Oly” back to Oregon’s coastal waters has become a priority for natural resource managers, scientists, shellfish farmers, and recreationists. A team led by the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) is conducting the science and forming the relationships necessary to make Coos Bay the epicenter of the state’s restoration efforts. Their goal is to advance local understanding of the oyster’s reproductive biology and early life history and work with a diverse group of stakeholders to weave that science into a plan to restore self-sustaining populations of oysters back to the estuary. A general understanding of how the shellfish lives and breeds must be examined in the context of the environmental conditions. This investigation focuses on three components: reproduction, larval supplies and distribution, and larval settlement and metamorphosis.



Steve Rumrill, PhD is the former Research Coordinator at South Slough NERR, and the principal investigator for the Olympia oyster restoration program. He currently acts as the Shellfish Program Leader with Marine Resources Program for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Steve Rumrill is a marine and estuarine ecologist who has worked over the past three decades primarily in the shallow sub-tidal zones, kelp beds, rocky intertidal areas, eelgrass beds, salt marshes, and soft-sediment habitats of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. He received his academic training as an invertebrate zoologist, reproductive biologist, and larval ecologist. As the leader for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Shellfish Program, Steve has statewide responsibilities for the conservation and management of shellfish populations and characterization of their habitats.



This workshop is sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve with funding from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Science Collaborative through the University of New Hampshire. 



Have questions about Bivalves in Kachemak Bay: Applying Lessons Learned from Restoration Along the Pacific Coast? Contact Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

When & Where

Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, Homer
95 Sterling Hwy
Homer, AK 99603

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM - Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM (AKDT)

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Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Coastal Training Program (CTP) offers practical, science-based information, tools, and skill training to professionals whose daily decisions impact coastal resources. The program is a national initiative within the National Estuarine Research Reserve system which provides coastal decision-makers with the knowledge and tools needed to address critical resource management issues of concern to local communities.

The KBNERR CTP maintains partnerships with local communities, agencies, and science experts, while collaborating with colleagues nationwide at other National Estuarine Research Reserves. The program consists of workshops, skill training, webinars, and technical assistance. Assessments of community needs, emerging coastal research, and coastal management issues help shape training and workshop priorities.

Contact Syverine Abrahamson- isabrahamson (at) -for more information 

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Bivalves in Kachemak Bay: Applying Lessons Learned from Restoration Along the Pacific Coast
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