Processing Oyster-Reef Cores

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.

About Antonio Rodriguez

Institute of Marine Sciences
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