Date of this Version

4-11-2014

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Water filtration is one of the most important ecosystem services provided by sessile organisms in coastal ecosystems. As a consequence of increased coastal development, human-made shoreline structures (e.g., docks and bulkheads) are now common, providing extensive surface area for colonization by filter feeders. We estimate that in a highly urbanized sub-tropical estuary, water filtration capacity supported by filter feeding assemblages on dock pilings accounts for 11.7 million liters of water h−1, or ~30% of the filtration provided by all natural oyster reef throughout the estuary. Assemblage composition, and thus filtration capacity, varied as a function of piling type, suggesting that the choice of building material has critical implications for ecosystem function. A more thorough depiction of the function of coastal ecosystems necessitates quantification of the extensive ecosystem services associated with human-made structures.

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Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

Originally Published in Environmental Research Letters, IOP Science

DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/4/044009

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