Remnant oyster reefs as fish habitat within the estuarine seascape

Martínez-Baena F., BS Lanham, IM McLeod, MD Taylor, S McOrrie, A Luongo, MJ Bishop

Interest in oyster reef conservation and restoration is growing globally, but particularly in Australia, it is unclear the extent to which oyster reefs complement (versus replicate) habitat provisioning by other structured habitats in the seascape. Remote underwater video surveys of two east Australian estuaries revealed that at high tide, oyster reefs not only supported distinct fish communities to bare sediments but also to adjacent seagrass beds and mangrove forests. Fish observations in oyster reefs were close to double that of mangroves and seagrass, with species richness, abundance, feeding and wandering behaviours similar. Several species of blenny and goby were unique to oyster reefs and oyster-containing mangroves, whilst recreationally fished species such as bream and mullet were more abundant on oyster reefs than in other habitats. Resolving the association between oyster reefs and fish species within the broader seascape will assist in developing restoration and management strategies that maximise fisheries benefit.

Marine Environmental Research 179 (2022): 105675

De novo reefs: Fish habitat provision by oyster aquaculture varies with farming method

Martínez-Baena F., BS Lanham, IM McLeod, MD Taylor, S McOrrie, MJ Bishop

Aquaculture industries have the capacity to produce positive ecosystem service benefits, such as the provision of habitat to wild animals. Oyster cultivation is the oldest and largest aquaculture industry in south-eastern Australia. Oyster spat are grown to marketable size in rack-and-rail (‘racks’) or longline-and-basket (‘baskets’) configurations, which add structure to estuarine waters. This study assessed: (1) how the fish communities associated with oyster farms vary with production method; (2) how communities of fish utilise oyster infrastructure, as compared to adjacent natural habitats; and (3) whether oyster infrastructure can serve as de facto oyster reefs by supporting similar fish communities. Remote underwater video surveys, conducted during summer and winter of 2 study years, revealed that fish observations and species richness were generally greater for rack than basket cultivation. Both types of oyster farms supported at least as many species of fish as adjacent natural habitats, including oyster reef, seagrass, mangrove and bare sediment. Fish communities were, in general, most similar between racks and baskets and most dissimilar between racks and bare sediments. Oyster farms supported species of fish otherwise limited to habitats with wild oysters, and unique harvested fish species were observed more frequently at racks. Fish use of oyster-growing infrastructure for foraging and shelter mirrored use of natural biogenic habitats. Overall, this study suggests that the oyster aquaculture infrastructure can support fish communities with species composition similar to those of natural biogenic habitats, although this service is dependent on farming method. Ecosystem services provided by aquaculture should be considered in estuarine habitat enhancement, conservation and restoration.

Aquaculture Environment Interactions 14 (2022): 71-84

Heterogeneity within and among co-occurring foundation species increases biodiversity

Thomsen M.S., AH ALtieri, C Angelini, MJ Bishop, F Bulleri, R Farhan, VMM Frühling, PE Gribben, SB Harrison, Q He, M Klinghardt, J Langeneck, BS Lanham, L Mondardini, Y Mulders, S Oleksyn, AP Ramus, DR Schiel, T Schneider, A Siciliano, BR Silliman, DA Smale, PM South, T Wernberg, S Zhang, G Zotz

Nature Communications 13 (2022): 581 


*Not from this paper but a different experiment using a similar algal mimic.

Spatial variation in the biotic and abiotic filters of oyster
recruitment: Implications for restoration

Esquivel-Muelbert J.R., BS Lanham, F Martínez-Baena, KA Dafforn, PE Gribben, MJ Bishop

Journal of Applied Ecology 59 (2022): 943-964


Fine-scale responses of mobile invertebrates and mesopredatory fish to habitat configuration

Lanham B.S., AGB Poore, PE Gribben

Marine Environmental Research 168 (2020) 105319


Climate drives the geography of marine consumption by changing predator communities

Whalen M.A., RDB Whippo, JJ Stachowicz, PH York, E Aiello, T Alcoverro, AH Altieri, L Benedetti-Cecchi, C Bertolini, M Bresch, F Bulleri, PE Carnell, S Cimon, RM Connolly, M Cusson, MS Diskin, E D’Souza, AAV Flores, FJ Fodrie, AWE Galloway, LC Gaskins, OJ Graham, TC Hanley, CJ Henderson, CM Hereu, M Hessing-Lewis, KA Hovel, BB Hughes, AR Hughes, KM Hultgren, H Jänes, DS Janiak, LN Johnston, P Jorgensen, BP Kelaher, C Kruschel, BS Lanham, K-S Lee, JS Lefcheck, E Lozano-Álvarez, PI Macreadie, ZL Monteith, NE O’Connor, AD Olds, JK O’Leary, CJ Patrick, O Pino, AGB Poore, MA Rasheed, WW Raymond, K Reiss, OK Rhoades, MT Robinson, PG Ross, F Rossi, TA Schlacher, J Seemann, BR Silliman, DL Smee, M Thiel, RKF Unsworth, BI van Tussenbroek, A Vergés, ME Yeager, BK Yednock, SL Ziegler, and JE Duffy

PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2020). DOI:


Facilitation cascades create a predation refuge for biodiversity in a novel connected habitat

Lanham B.S., AGB Poore, PE Gribben
Ecosphere 11(4) (2020) e03053


Altered fish community and feeding behaviour in close proximity to boat moorings in an urban estuary

Lanham B.S., A Vergés, LH Hedge, EL Johnston, AGB Poore
Marine Pollution Bulletin 129 (2018) 43-51


Beyond the border: effects of an expanding algal habitat on the fauna of neighbouring habitats

Lanham B.S., PE Gribben, AGB Poore
Marine Environmental Research 106 (2015) 10-18