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Oyster Restoration Success and Water Quality in the James and Rappahannock Rivers of Virginia

Author(s): Julia L. Josephs

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This QUBES lesson uses statistical analysis to test whether or not oyster restoration sites in Virginia are successfully increasing the number of oysters and whether or not water quality is improving at the same sites during the same time period.


This QUBES lesson teaches valuable information about the population decline of the Eastern Oyster in Virginia, the oyster’s role in its ecosystem, and how the oyster improves its environment, which in return improves the lives of humans. Pertinent information about the current state of the water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and the cause of its pollution is also provided. In R-studio, Tidyverse, GGPlot, Pearson Correlation Tests, and Linear Regression Models are used to test the hypothesis that oyster reef restoration programs in the lower James River and the lower Rappahannock River have increased wild oyster population sizes over the years, and the surrounding water quality has improved in the form of reduced total nitrogen, total phosphorus, chlorophyll-A, and turbidity.

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