HRI Seminar Series - Dr. Megan La Peyre

February 8, 2023
2:00 pm
February 8, 2023
3:00 pm
Harte Research Institute
Conference Center 127
6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412

"Oysters: Research, Restoration and More"


Bivalves occur globally, potentially protecting shorelines through the reefs they create, cleaning the water, and feeding people. Yet, degradation of coastal waters and habitats threatens their continued contributions in many regions.  The eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, supports a productive fishery and aquaculture operations, provides unique and complex hard-bottom habitat, and is a cultural icon across the northern Gulf of Mexico coast.  Cherished by some, and despised by others as a food item, oysters have been feeding humans since at least Roman times.  Regardless of how you view their culinary delights, oysters are fascinating organisms – understanding how they are able to survive and adapt to constantly changing water conditions remains key to ensuring they are around in the future.  We will explore some on-going laboratory and field studies examining oyster physiology, and tolerances to environmental variables, and explore how these data inform modeling approaches that help us better understand oysters and may contribute to restoration and management decision-making. 

Megan La Peyre is a Research Biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Louisiana Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Research Unit, and adjunct professor with the School of Renewable Natural Resources, LSU AgCenter.  In this role, she works with graduate and undergraduate students, teaches natural resources policy, and communication seminars, leads research projects, and serves as the Gulf DOI representative for oyster and submerged aquatic vegetation habitats on multi-agency teams. Over the last 20 years, La Peyre’s research has examined functioning and restoration of shallow-water biogenic habitats including studies on estuarine submerged aquatic vegetation communities, and oyster reefs.  These studies include exploring how submerged vegetation and oysters respond to changing coastal conditions, restoration and development of submerged vegetation and oyster communities, and how fish communities use these habitats.  She is the author of numerous peer reviewed publications, and a book on living shorelines.

Dr. La Peyre is active within the Coastal Estuarine Research Federation, and past president of the Gulf Estuarine Research Society. She serves as contributing editor for Aquaculture Environment Interactions Journal, and has served on numerous state, regional and national panels including ones led by the National Academies of Sciences, NOAA, PEW Charitable Trusts focused on development of monitoring and restoration techniques of coastal habitats, green infrastructure and coastal vulnerability.  For this work, she recently received recognition for her contributions to transformational conservation science (DOI Sam D. Hamilton Award).

Megan grew up in Ottawa, Canada, exploring the many freshwater lakes and streams before heading south for her studies.  La Peyre received her BA in Political Science and Biology from Duke University, her MA in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, College of William and Mary and her PhD in Oceanography from LSU.