Models Combined to Assist Oyster Growth Rate and Population Predictions
Researchers from the Environmental Cooperative Sciences Center (ECSC) project an increase in salinity in Apalachicola Bay, which would have a negative effect on the bay’s oyster population. Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the ECSC adapted an oyster model that simulates a diversity of population processes and coupled it with a hydrodynamic model to examine changes in salinity on oyster growth rates. Oyster population features and reproduction are closely related to salinity, and human consumption of freshwater species is expected to increase in the region. Findings indicate that more careful regulation of inflows from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) basin is needed to ensure future habitat for oysters. The eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) plays an important role ecologically and economically in Apalachicola Bay and elsewhere.