Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting Warmer Putting down caged oysters

The bottom temperature measured 69 degrees today. The oysters can reproduce at 70 degrees so we are almost there.

The bacterial testing has been completed by the Island Creek team, so next week we can put down oysters in cages (milk crates.) I will probably do this Tuesday night.

It looks like our dive team will be checking on the oysters the night of Sunday August 9th. They also will be scoping out a spot nearby for the placement of oysters this fall.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Water Temperatures Grant News

We went to the Charles site last night and measured the water temperature on the bottom where are oysters rest. The water temperature remains at 64 degrees, well below surface temperatures in the 70's. This is great for growing oysters, but probably a bit cold for reproduction. We will keep monitoring this situation. The dive team is planning to revisit the site on August 8th.

The hard work of Hannah our volunteer Grant Coordinator is bearing fruit. We have a call scheduled for the week of the 27th with one of the funders. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

MOP Goes Scientific

It is an exciting week coming up for MOP on the scientific side. We have a poster presentation and an oral presentation on Tuesday for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Coastal Zone meeting on Tuesday. On Friday we also will have a poster presentation at the Conference On Coastal Environmental Sensing Networks CESN that will be held at UMass Boston. These conferences will provide us with the opportunity to interact with scientists and oceanographers from around the country and to build/strengthen ties with academia.

A special shout out to our Dive Captain Matt Brevard who will present a Poster discussing the growth and anatomic dissection of a sample of our oysters.

If you are at the events, please seek us out.

As to our oysters, we are taking the water temperature periodically to see when it reaches spawning temperature on the bottom. At 65 degrees it is still a bit cold, but it is rising a degree every couple days. We have put down quahog shells in mesh bags on the bottom and suspended in the water column. If the oysters reproduce we should see seed oysters on them later this summer. Matt is also coordinating a dive to take some oysters so he can examine their reproductive organs.

Note that there is some debate about whether we will see reproduction in year one as in the early phase of their lives most oysters are males, then some cross-over to females. Reproduction would be great. But, the lack of it would not be conclusive.

I also had some time to visit with the team at our oyster supplier Island Creek in Duxbury. Skip and the team walked me through all the steps of the operation from seed, to harbor, to bagging for market. This organization impresses me more and more. (Thank you Shore for giving me the shirt of your back!)

We also received some global publicity through the Siemens employee Magazine. They did a piece on the project and it reaches 200,000 people around the Globe. (Now if we can only get sponsorship from the water technologies group.)

We are refining our plans for the Fall, and donations would help. Don’t' be afraid to donate through the web-site.
Posted by Mass Oyster Project at 8:32 AM 0 comments
B&G Oyster Event Spring Check on Charles

B&G Oyster Event Spring Check on Charles

The B&G Oyster event for Sunday May 3 is sold out. If you do not have a ticket yet, we are sorry there is no more room.

Today our intrepid divers Mathew Brevard and Rich Bradshaw braved 53 degree waters to check on our bivalve friends. The results were encouraging. Survival since the placement last fall was 50%, a bit below what we had hoped for, but still quite respectable. Importantly, the oysters that did survive grew approximately 25%. Matt will be performing measurements on a small sample and compare them to oysters taken from the batch at the time of the initial placement. The numbers will be used for his poster presentation at the NOAA Coastal Zone Meeting in July.

There was no obvious cause of the mortality, but we will be conducting some work with caged populations and examining pictures taken with an underwater camera graciously loaned to the program by UMass Boston Professor Anamarija Frankic. We will be working with her organization on our next placement that will probably be in the vicinity of the Neponset River. We are learning a lot and this knowledge should lead to even better results in later placements.

Our efforts to win a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (environmental license plates) were not successful. However, our Grant Coordinator Hannah Dale will have two more going out shortly.

We also have had a terrific meeting with the MWRA and there may be some ways for us to work towards mutual goal of making Boston Harbor as clean and healthy as possible.

In the coming weeks we also have a meeting scheduled with Boston Water and Sewer who also appears favorably disposed.

Over the next few days, we will update the website to reflect the information and bottom photos from this dive and information from the B&G event.