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Collecting Data

By Staff | Aug 5, 2011
Photo by Sabrina Lartz, SCCF Marine Lab
Photo by SHANNEN HAYES

Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation placed black, numbered recruitment trays, top photo, in Clam Bayou, Pine Island Sound, Tarpon Bay and San Carlos Bay to collect fossil shells. The trays are pulled from the waters six months to one year later, its contents are washed in a 2-milimeter sieve, bottom, and oyster recruits are separated from the empty fossil shell. The height of the oysters are measured and entered in a database, along with a count of the “gapers” or recently deceased oysters. The live oysters found are placed back into the water, so they can continue to filter large amounts of water approximately 50 gallons per day, which compares to an average human consuming 800 gallons of water in a day. When the trays are pulled, there are also sponges, fish, crabs, shrimp and other invertebrates. This collection, from Pine Island Sound, Tarpon Bay and San Carlos Bay, is the third done by SCCF. Last week, trays were collected from Clam Bayou. Data on the estuary oyster recruitment is shared with the City of Sanibel and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It provides a good look at the overall health of the eastern oyster found in Southwest Florida.