Oyster Population Surveys
Oysters are sampled twice a year in Spring and Fall to represent the start and end of the oyster growing season in the mid-Atlantic. We use hydraulic patent tongs to sample a 1meter-squared area of reef bottom and take 3-5 samples from each planting location. Samples are rinsed and sorted onboard Stockton's RV Petrel. These surveys assess universal metrics for oyster habitat restoration:
1) Oyster density
2) Settlement and recruitment
3) Size frequency
Additional assays are performed from subsamples of oysters for biomass (dry weight), Condition Index, and disease testing (Dermo and MSX).