Water-Related News

FGCU research aims to protect and grow oyster population

Oysters are a small species with a big job. Serving as a natural filtration system, these shellfish help keep water clean. When they’ve done their job and the water is clear, Florida thrives.

A team of researchers from The Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University is studying how to keep these “kidneys of the sea” healthy.

“Oysters are very efficient in filtering the water. As filter feeders, they help to remove nutrients and contaminants from the water column,” explained Felix Jose, associate professor of marine science.

Jose and a team of students are studying how oyster larvae travel, settle and grow. This process is the backbone of oyster reef restoration.

In a partnership with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, the group conducted a field study in Southwest Florida starting in June 2020. Every two weeks they traveled by boat to 10 different coastal sites, from San Carlos Bay near Fort Myers Beach north to Matlacha Pass between Cape Coral and Pine Island, to collect water samples.