Survey of Oyster Populations on Nueces Bay Constructed Habitats

This project will be completed as part of a survey of oyster populations on rocks adjacent to two rookery islands near White’s Point in Nueces Bay and the outer berm of the Nueces Bay Marsh Restoration Project. The survey will collect data that are necessary for understanding oyster use of constructed habitats in Nueces Bay.

HRI’s Coastal Conservation and Restoration lab will begin conducting field sampling in late 2022. At each sample location, HRI researchers will place a 0.25 or 0.5 m2 quadrat (depending on oyster density) on the bottom substrate and collect all surficial material within, including live oysters. Samples will be placed into bags or baskets and brought to the boat where they will be quantified for live oyster density and size frequency distribution of live oysters. All material will be quantified in the field and then returned to the bay bottom.

A total of 20 oysters per habitat type will be brought back to the laboratory for assessment of infection by Perkinsus marinus, a protozoan parasite and causative agent of Dermo disease in oysters. Discrete measurements of water depth, temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH, and turbidity will also be collected.

The Coastal Conservation and Restoration lab will meet with Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program staff and other involved stakeholders as needed to provide input on study findings, make recommendations, etc. Participation may include technical presentations, informal discussions, and/or formal question and answer sessions.