Saving Oysters in Oregon – week 3

office time.

For the first time in 3 weeks, I spent some good bonding time with my desk.  I finally got my internet, login credentials, email, etc figured out, so I spent a good portion of this week doing some office work.  Plus, the tides weren’t so great the beginning of this past week and it was raining, so it was best to stay in.

What I’ve learned:  Science isn’t all about the lab or even field work.  You have to spend time writing grants to apply for funding, putting together reports, seminars, or powerpoints for meetings, and gathering information into summaries void of scientific jargon so that the vast majority of people can understand them.  The last one is what I did.  I read many many many scientific articles, powerpoints from workshops, and shellfish restoration manuals, and pulled together all the important pieces of information.  I’ve noticed that my advisor has to spend a huge amount of time at his desk, too.  He’s busy writing grants to secure salaries, conference calling to inform and spread knowledge to policy makers, among other things.  I guess it’s just how things are.  I personally think it adds a bit more variety to the job.

I also did online research on how to improve my Oly ROCS (we’re going to implement those next week, so you’ll be hearing about those soon!).


searching for oysters.

There’s a plan to build a liquid natural gas pipe through Haynes Inlet of Coos Bay, and despite much community resistance, that plan was approved.  Was.  Then it was brought to their attention that the Olympia oyster (species at risk) may be inhabiting areas that would be affected by the current plan.  They wanted someone to go and check if they were there, so my advisor, Laura (a postdoc) and I did just that.

In some places, they were amazingly abundant.  Others, there were smatterings.  And in one area, none at all.  We could basically foretell where they would be by the different characteristics of each area.  The rocky shorelines  had more oysters than the muddy, almost anoxic flats.  It’s not always that simple though.  We also began to see that the residence time of water was a major factor of whether or not juveniles would be present.  Salinity is important too.  I also observed that there were many juveniles, but not many older, larger oysters in some areas.  I began to question whether these areas with seemingly abundant populations of oysters were actually good for them.  Did certain environmental conditions create hostile environments that led to premature deaths?  Is there good larval recruitment but something else that’s killing them?  Or are they thriving just below the surface where we can’t see them, and the ones above the tideline just can’t tolerate being out of water for that long?

I know I won’t be able to answer all of these questions, but I hope I can get closer to knowing the answers.  They’re important questions for the restoration effort.

What’s next:  probably more field work for their restoration, and working more on the Oly ROCS.  I’ll let ya know next week!


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2 thoughts on “Saving Oysters in Oregon – week 3

  1. Great questions about oyster distribution. Any plans to continue investigating any of those topics?

  2. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll have enough time to look into these questions, but I hope the grad students here will!

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