July 1, 2010- Studying the Effect of Adult Oysters on Larvae recruitment

Oysters tend to be quite gregarious; seldom will you find a single
wild oyster set apart from others. Generally, oyster larvae settle in
close proximity to established oyster reefs. Unlike other shellfish,
once an oyster sets on a substrate it remains in that spot its entire
life. 

The mechanism in which oyster larvae use to find a beneficial
habitat is relatively unknown. We designed a study to investigate our
hypothesis that adult oysters release a type of cue which the larvae
detect and are more likely to set near by. 

Two rafts, each with 30 shell bags hanging off them, were set up in the Edgartown Great Pond, about 100 yards apart. One raft held about 60 adult oysters while the other remained empty. We plan to collect the bags in a few weeks and count the number of spat collected on each shell. We hope this
preliminary study will give us reason to investigate this process
further.