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Raising oysters and determining factors that affect their growth rate

At Merritt Island Oysters, we purchase "seed" which are about 2mm in size. The seed are put into mesh bags, which are put into floating cages or floated as an individual bag. As the oysters grow, they are sorted by size, or culled to keep similar sized oysters growing within a bag. Bags are routinely cleaned off, shaken and the oysters are individually handled. 

At Merritt Island Oysters, we are interested in what factors could lead to increased growth rates. The faster our oysters grow, the faster we can get them from the farm to your dinner plates!

We have piloted a study looking at several factors: type of growing environment, floating bag on the surface or within a cage, salinity levels, temperature, pH, total dissolved solids and conductivity. We have set up 2 science bags with n=100 oysters in each bag to compare growth rates to one another. We will track their progress over the 2018 growing season. Oysters (n=10) from each science bag are measured with vernier calipers every two weeks and environmental factors are measured. Check back to see some results at the end of the season! 

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