Monday, 09 April 2007 01:00
Making Oyster ReefsWritten by WGCU Newsroom
Researchers at Florida Gulf Coast University have won a national award in recognition of their successful community program to restore oyster reefs in Southwest Florida. The work was concentrated in Charlotte Harbor where years of development and subsequent poor water quality have destroyed or diminished many oyster reefs. The program was headed by Marine Science Professor Aswani Volety – who says oysters are an important part of the Harbor’s ecosystem.
“for one thing they filter tremendous amounts of water removing algae, bacteria, sediment and pollutants – cleaning the water and also in doing so they allow the light to penetrate the bottom layers and that enables the sea-grasses and other plants that live on the bottom to grow better and they provide a 3 dimensional structure that provides food and habitat for over 300 marine species.”
The researchers involved residents who live on canals adjacent to Charlotte Harbor in growing oyster larvae. The growth was monitored to determine what areas are most conducive for oyster reefs. Material for the oyster larvae to attach themselves was then put down.