Dr. Bernadette Pogoda


Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Shelf Sea Systems Ecology and Coastal Ecology, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany

In addition to the loss of oyster beds in the North and East Frisian Wadden Sea, also biogenic oyster reef habitats and their associated species-rich fauna and flora in offshore areas of the German Bight vanished within the last century.

Because of their high ecological value oyster stocks are now in the focus of European conservation efforts. The Oslo-Paris Commission (OSPAR) identified Ostrea edulis as a severely endangered habitat creating species and its protection in their area of distribution was concluded (OSPAR, 2008).

In view of ecosystem-related benefits of oyster reefs, e.g. high biodiversity, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) is funding a testing and development study for restoration strategies for Ostrea edulis. The study is conducted by the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and is considered as a basis for decision making with regard to long-term restoration of the native European oyster in the German North Sea.

The presentation will focus on

  • the historical distribution of O. edulis in the German North Sea and reasons for its drastic decline.
  • important factors for restoration.
  • the special situation in Germany: restoring deep offshore oyster beds.
  • current efforts towards regeneration of oyster stocks

On the one hand, several constraints to restoration have to be considered, e.g. degraded habitats, which are probably less suitable for recruitment. On the other hand, recent developments in water quality improvements as well as the existing knowledge on sustainable management and preservation practices increase the prospects of successful restoration. These aspects will be examined and discussed and aim at the development of strategies for the preservation of this endangered species in European waters.