The Florida Tech Indian River Lagoon Research Institute (IRLRI) partnered with Girl Scout Troop 156 (Citrus Council), based in Indian Harbour Beach, last November to build oyster mats and oyster bags and deploy them in the IRL. University faculty and about a dozen Girl Scouts, ages 5-10, with the help of Florida Tech undergraduate and graduate students, created a “living dock” in the Eau Gallie area of the lagoon.
The project is intended to increase oyster growth by providing a suitable habitat and improve water quality by filtration; oysters are natural filters and adult oysters can filter up to 50 gallons of water each day. “We expect to get some good research information from this effort,” said, IRLRI director Robert Weaver, department of marine and environmental systems. “The scouts will help us establish a baseline as to what will survive and we’ll test some of our ideas of how to get oysters to grow.”
Also involved from the university were faculty members Geoff Swain and Kevin Johnson; adjunct faculty members Christopher Combs and Mitchell Roffer; doctoral student Holly Sweat; and Kelly Zargiel \’13, postdoctoral student.