Current Research: Oysters

  • Comparison of oyster shell above the bottom surface (brown) and under the surface (black)Broodstock dynamics, fecundity, egg viability and recruitment processes in trap-type estuaries – several western shore sub-estuaries of the Virginia Chesapeake Bay have modest tidal excursion and topography that dictates limited tidal exchange with the bay main stem. The late Jay D. Andrews described these as “trap-type” estuaries. Understanding the dynamics of oyster populations in these estuaries is critical to their use in both seed production for fishery application and in restoration efforts.
  • Stock assessment - The VIMS oyster Patent Tong survey provides data in support of both management and restoration of Virginia's oyster resource.
  • Ecology of marine invertebrate larvae - Oyster size-age relationships, survivorship, recruitment, fecundity, and metapopulation dynamics in relation to geographic location and local environmental conditions continue to be examined in a variety of projects. 

  • Oysters and carbonate budgets in estuaries - Oysters reefs form the majority, if not the only vertically structured hard surfaces above the sediment-water interface in the majority of sedimentary estuaries in temperate and subtropical latitudes worldwide.

  • Aquaculture and the environment - Intensive oyster culture in the Chesapeake Bay offers enormous economic growth opportunities, but also poses unusual biological and management challenges.

  • Archaeology - Oysters and the reefs that they created were central to the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay prior to the early 20th century.