Oysters, horseshoe crabs, and Snapchat, oh my!

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August 4, 2017. By Trevor Burns, NH Sea Grant Doyle Fellow summer intern with the Coastal Research Volunteers. Trevor will be a senior at UNH studying Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Biology.

Over the last few weeks I have spent my fellowship working on several projects with The Sea Grant and The Nature Conservancy.

In July I did a snapchat takeover with the University of New Hampshire to show students the work being done to study horseshoe crab populations around Great Bay. Snapchat is a social media app that lets you send photos and short videos to people to communicate. The University of New Hampshire has an account that is followed by about 4,000 students and lets students use it for a day to share their projects or events. I thought sharing the research being done on horseshoe crabs was important because it is happening so close to campus that students can get involved and volunteer without traveling to the seacoast. UNH saved the takeover and added it to their youtube page. To view it, follow this link.

At the end of July I attended The Beaches Conference in Wells, Maine. This conference is focused on the condition of local beaches from Maine and New Hampshire. Presenting organizations included New Hampshire Sea Grant, Maine Sea Grant, The University of Maine, UNH, The Maine and New Hampshire Coastal Programs, and many others. I attended many seminars that shared research and strategies to engage communities in building resilient coastlines. I thought the conference was great, I learned so much about the beaches in the Gulf of Maine, and met all the people involved in these projects.

Throughout the last month I have been helping The Nature Conservancy with their oyster restoration project. The goal of this project is to restore the oyster population of Great Bay that has been diminished by disease and silt. The projected started by taking oyster shells, donated by local restaurants, and putting them in oyster cages. We then placed the cages into large tanks and added oyster spawn that was estimated to be 12.5 million oyster larvae.

After the larvae settle out of the water column onto the shells, the being to grow. After a few weeks, we took the cages out of the tanks and tied them onto a raft in Great Bay for them to grow large enough to see them. This week we took cages out of the water to count the spat, baby oysters, on the shells of some cages to get a subsample of the success rate of the spawn settling. For the rest of the summer the cages will be delivered to volunteers around Great Bay that will monitor the growth of their cage from their docks. At the end of the summer the oysters will be added to the existing oyster reef in Great Bay to help restore the depleted population.


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