In August of 2016, I, along with some incredible volunteers set up 6 oyster plots in the mudflats of Netarts Bay, just in front of Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Netarts, Oregon. Since then I’ve been back on a fortnightly schedule to check on my oysters and stain them for an hour with two dyes designed to mark growth in their shells. The two dyes I use are calcein (fluorescent), and a manganese spike (remember these! We'll get to them later). On a quarterly schedule, I’ve also been collecting some of these oysters to bring back to the lab at OSU for analysis.
Why have I been doing this? My goals are two-fold:
To develop a carbonate proxy using uranium and calcium ratios (U/Ca) in oyster shells.
To determine if implementing shell plantings for growing oyster shells could be used to reduce the effects of ocean acidification.
You may be asking yourself, what are shell plantings? Good question! Simply put they're bags of dead oyster shells that have been placed beneath live, growing oyster shells. See the picture below to see what it looks like! Why are we doing this? Keep reading next week to find out!