Can Oyster Aquaculture Help Restore Coastal Water Quality?

Date and Time: 
Tue, 05/25/2021 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Dan Rogers, Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers, and Paraskevi (Vivian) Mara

Excess nitrogen in coastal waters can lead to a variety of problems, including algal blooms, fish kills and beach closures, but there aren’t easy solutions. In Massachusetts, towns along Cape Cod have been exploring the use of non-traditional methods for meeting nitrogen reduction requirements, such as establishing shellfish aquaculture operations in coastal waters. This webinar featured a recently completed research project that addressed critical information gaps identified by water quality managers and regulators - specifically the needs to quantify the nitrogen removal rates of commercial shellfish growing practices, and to identify best practices for siting and maintaining aquaculture operations that maximize benefits for water quality.  

In partnership with the Town of Falmouth, the project team studied the microbial communities and measured nitrogen fluxes in the sediment below three popular systems for growing oysters. They found that all three growing systems increased rates of denitrification and enhanced nitrogen removal, but aquaculture projects need to be carefully sited for best results. To share their findings, the team developed a best practices guide for growers, an eight-part video series to help inform local and regional planning boards, and signs and a demonstration site to help school groups and reserve visitors learn more about shellfish aquaculture. To learn more, visit the project page.

Learn more about the speakers:

Dan Rogers, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Stonehill College

Dr. Daniel Rogers is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Stonehill College. His research focuses on biogeochemical cycling in coastal and deep-sea environments and the development of new tools to study biological activity. As project lead, Dan coordinated the team, supervised numerous students and conducted the chemical analyses including the measurement of nitrogen fluxes.

Learn more about Dan

Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers, Manager, Waquoit Bay NERR, MA

Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers is the manager of Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Massachusetts. She has over 15 years of experience connecting science with management and engaging stakeholders in research and planning processes. As collaborative lead for this project, Tonna-Marie facilitated a close connection with project end users and led the development of the video series.

Learn more about Waquoit Bay NERR

Paraskevi (Vivian) Mara, Research Associate, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Vivian Mara is a research associate at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she specializes in marine microbiology, gene expression and biogeochemistry in ocean water and marine sediments.  For this project, Vivian led the field, lab and sequencing work for the genetic analyses and served as lead author for the article that summarized project findings and compared nitrogen removal processes for each of  the aquaculture types. See: article in Frontiers in Marine Science.

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