Oyster reefs are often the only natural hard substrate in estuaries and are even labeled “oyster rock” on many old nautical charts. Oyster reefs have the potential to grow extremely rapidly (10 cm/year); in comparison, coral-reef growth, is measured in mm/year. Oyster reefs are not only composed of oyster shells, they have an abundance of mud and organic carbon filling pore spaces between shells. A core through an oyster reef samples compositional changes through time, but extracting that record is tedious. In this time-lapse video, Rachel Quindlen, Molly Bost, and Carson Miller are subsampling an oyster-reef core. The constituents of every 5-cm long subsample are separated using a sieve and later by combusting organic matter and measuring particle size with a laser. It’s time-consuming, but worth it.
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Morehead City, NC
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Lab Musings (mostly)
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Lesson plans for middle- and high-school teachers that focus on estuarine fish habitats can be found here.
- Explaining the wide range of salt marsh carbon accumulation rates August 12, 2022
- Working with John Anderson for 30 years June 18, 2022
- Elevations where oyster reefs grow best increase as they age June 3, 2021