Since I started working at FSU’s marine lab, I have frequently cast longing looks at a local study system that hasn’t been examined in over 50 years. Back in the 1960s, the world’s most famous ecologist (Bob Paine) was a post-doctoral researcher working at FSU’s Marine Lab. It was at this time and place where he began developing some of the concepts that would transform the field of ecology. Continue reading →
In many of our previous posts, we focused on how predator patterns may dictate why oyster reefs look different from NC to Florida. While a cursory look at results thus far supports this hypothesis, we’ve yet to consider alternate explanations. And failing to consider alternatives would not be very objective or scientific. After all, our job is to collect a lot of data and perform a lot of experiments that could possibly refute our predator hypothesis. Only by surviving all of these data and tests can our hypothesis gain strength, and of course it can never be proved. Continue reading →
The photo above is my work computer’s desktop picture. Most of the time, when people see it, I find that they had no idea what an oyster reef looked like. One coworker thought it was a muddy cabbage patch. To be honest, until I first stepped on one for this project, I wouldn’t have known a reef from a pile of rocks. And, like a lot of people, I love eating the things- right out of the shell with a little grit and juice. That’s the disconnect we sometimes have between the food we eat and from where it comes. So it occurred to me that, while we’ve been talking these last few months about the complex relationships between predators and prey on the reef, it might be helpful to get back to oyster basics. Over the following weeks, we’ll cover various topics (like why subtidal oysters are harvested more often than intertidal ones like those up there). We’ll start with what it’s actually like out on a reef, and what you’d see there.
The following photos are of samples taken at each of Dr. Kimbro’s sites, as mentioned in his previous post. After surveying the reefs to see what large fish and crabs were living in the reefs, he and his team turned to looking at the oysters and the creatures living under them in the mud. That’s what you’re seeing here. Click on any photo to make it larger.
Although we’ve busied ourselves this summer by selecting research sites and practicing various aspects of our sampling program, we have still not collected any ‘real’ data concerning the objectives of our biogeographic oyster project. Well, this post will be short because as I write this we are hectically preparing to begin said research. Coincidentally, tropical storm Bonnie has also decided to begin her work in the Gulf at the same time!