Oyster Gardening and Climate Change

Grade Level:Upper Primary (grades 3-5, ages 8-11)
GLOBE Teacher(s):
Report Type(s):Standard Research Report
Date Submitted:05/09/2012

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Compare growth of oysters placed in different bodies of water with different water qualities.

In September, 2011, approximately 8,000 oyster spat were placed in Taylor Floats in four different Chesapeake Bay tributaries. All oyster spat came from the same source, Oyster Reefkeepers of Virginia. One float was located at LeeWard Marina in the James River in Newport News, VA. The second float was located in the Back River, a tributary of the York River, in Poquoson, Virginia. Float number three was placed in Hoffler Creek, a tributary of the James River, in Portsmouth, Virginia. The fourth float was placed in Oyster Harbor on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Each float held approximately 2,000 oyster spat. Floats one and three were both located in rather large urban areas. (*See Attachment B, Map Displaying Oyster Float Locations)

Each month groups of students visited the floats to collect water quality data and measured the length of the oysters. Data collected at each site included dissolved oxygen, pH level, salinity (in ppt), water temperature, length of 50 random oysters, and mortality rate. (Note: Northampton High School and Christopher Academy did not have materials to test for DO)


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From the students of the Montessori Academy of North Texas -

"Great job analyzing the data! Lots of visuals helped explain the experiment. Preservation of the oyster population is very important. Due to the mentioned errors we would like to see how the outcome would be different if the variables were more controlled."

Posted on 5/15/12 9:11 PM.

From Alexander Dawson School -

"This is an excellent presentation. I had no idea how important oysters were in the ecosystem that you studied. Are there other bays along the east coast that have data similar to yours? It would be interesting to see how widespread this problem is."

Posted on 5/17/12 5:36 PM.

From the students of Main Street Intermediate School -

"• We enjoyed your oyster gardening musical very much. Very informative! What were you spelling with your arms at the end?
• Is there any way to track the oysters that you released?
• We were wondering how big the oysters get. Are oysters still harvested commercially in the bay?"

Posted on 5/17/12 6:14 PM.

From at student at West Haven High School -

"I think that the video was very informative. The song in the beginning of the video was a creative introduction into the subject. All factors of the experiment were explained clearly and accurately. The graphs were an excellent visual and helped me understand the project better. Comparing the size of the oysters to different influences on water quality instead of just one as well as measuring water quality and oyster size in several different bodies of water made the experiment much more thorough. The photos at the end of the video enhanced my understanding of the procedure. However, I found the narration a little difficult to understand. Overall, it is evident that substantial effort was put into the project and it was very well done. "

Posted on 5/18/12 4:08 PM.

From a student at West Haven High School -

"I really enjoyed the video. It presented the information in a fun and creative way which kept my attention. I liked that not only was the current data presented to the viewer, but also that the viewer was made aware of future experiments and plans concerning oyster gardening. The report and video definitely stressed the importance of oysters to the environment, which I did not know prior to reading and watching. This experiment could potentially be expanded further to study the effects of the water quality and climate change on other aquatic organisms in the area. Great work everyone who was involved in this experiment!"

Posted on 5/21/12 6:52 PM.

From a student at West Haven High School -

"This video is AMAZING! The students were extremely creative by making their own lyrics to the song “Help” as a fun way of explaining their project in the intro. Ultimately, the background provided about the oysters and the diagram of life history really added a visual to the presentation and helped me understand the research being done. I would have never really considered the impacts our environment is having on the oyster market, and thus the economy. The analysis of the effects of the pH, CO2, salinity, and DO on the oyster growth was well done. Great Job!"

Posted on 5/21/12 7:14 PM.

From a student at West Haven High School-

"I really liked your song, very creative. Keep up the good work, you guys have a lot of great information. In fact, you have inspired my partner and I to write a little song of our own about our fox research, keep your eyes out! Hope that you can gather more results and find a way to help the oysters! I'll be checking in every so often, keep me updated!"

Posted on 5/23/12 4:43 AM.