Oyster Restoration in Galveston Bay: Can citizen scientists help monitor spat recruitment?



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Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) provide many services for Galveston Bay, Texas (Fig 1.) but have been in decline; there are currently efforts being made to restore historic sites of oyster reefs. Citizen science projects use individual volunteers in the public, working with professional scientists, to collect large amounts of data and has a lower associated cost. This study is one of the first to examine the feasibility of a citizen scientist project that could quantify long term larval recruitment for oysters within Galveston Bay and the importance of recruitment for reef structure. Discussion. The highest density was observed on one of the oldest reefs however, the highest recruitment was observed on one of the newer reefs. Spat observed on trays on reef one were also the largest which could correlate to survivorship; more research is needed. Similar sizes of spat were recorded between trays and racks for the same time period indicating successful recording of spat recruitment of similar growth rates. More research is necessary to draw appropriate conclusions.