Vincent Encomio, PhD, Research Scientist, spearheads the effort to restore the oyster population devastated by fresh-water discharges into the estuary that began in 2005 and continues today! The oysters are critical to cleaning the water and providing habitat and food for up to 300 estuarine species.
Florida Oceanographic staff and volunteers grow oyster larvae and spat at the Coastal Center. When they mature, Dr. Encomio and others lead volunteers in building oyster-shell reefs and populate them with the growing oysters. Additionally, oyster shells are collected at local restaurants, including:
The shells are quarantined and then bagged by staff and volunteers and deployed to create new oyster-shell reefs in the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River estuaries. Their progress is monitored using cutting-edge acoustic technology.
For more information on how you can get involved, please contact Vincent at 772-225-0505, ext 112.
Oyster Reef Restoration Project Video
We have a number of volunteer opportunities in our research department. Please see the list of upcoming events, below. To sign up, contact Vincent at email@example.com or call 772-225-0505, ext. 112.
Please wear closed toe shoes to all events, and be prepared to enter the water up to waist deep at the reef deployments. Gloves and water are provided.
This video of oysters viewed through a microscope was created by Pete Silvestri, a student from East Michigan University, who was part of the East Michigan University class that visited Florida Oceanographic Society and Dr. Vincent Encomio on April 27th, 2011.