Since January 2013, interested Ocracoke youth and adults attended a training workshop offered by NC Sea Grant where they learned how to monitor oyster spat around Ocracoke. The island is surrounded by shallow oyster beds which were over-harvested around 1920. North Carolina has implemented oyster restoration throughout Pamlico Sound but only in deep water. Spat recording is essential so researchers can understand how many oysters are in the breeding population, how much habitat is available, and how many offspring they produce. The Oyster Spat Monitoring Project focuses on the last of these questions, being one of the more critical to overall oyster research, management, and restoration efforts.
Since then, volunteers Arlene Burley, Elizabeth Hanrahan, Sara Reece Johnson, Beverly Meeker and Susse Wright have been recording data and sending results to UNCW. Volunteers deploy racks with tiles that oyster spat settle on. The racks are removed and replaced with clean tiles every 6 weeks, and then the number of spat and other organisms that settled are counted and recorded. To learn more about the spat program visit www.ncoystermonitoring.org
For questions please call Outdoor Classroom coordinator Elizabeth Hanrahan firstname.lastname@example.org