Michele Bulnes, from Monmouth University, worked with Dr. Daphne Munroe and Ph.D. Candidate Alexandria Ambrose on how fish and other organisms use oyster farm gear as habitat.
Nina Coli, from the University of South Carolina, worked with Field Researcher Jenny Shinn and Dr. David Bushek to test the settlement of oysters to novel concrete formulations and modules designed for use in hybrid living shorelines to protect coastlines from storms and erosion. Nina was selected by an independent faculty review committee to present her poster, receiving a travel award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to present her work at the 2024 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans, LA.
Molly Honecker, from Duke University, worked with Post Doctoral Fellow Dr. Laura Steeves and Dr. Munroe to understand impacts of ocean acidification on coastal shellfish. Molly was selected by an independent faculty review committee to present her poster, receiving a travel award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to present her work at the 2024 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans, LA.
Aisling O’Connell, from Georgetown University, helped Drs. Jason Morson and Doug Zemeckis determine the effectiveness and appropriateness of a novel sampling method for understanding offshore fish communities where wind energy turbines are proposed for installation.
Catherine Carrion, from Virginia Tech, worked with David Bushek and Masters student Elizabeth Bouchard to examine beach characteristics and adjacent landscapes to determine associations with horseshoe crab egg densities. Catherine received a travel award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to present her work at the 2023 ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Simon L’Heveder, from the University of Edinborough in Scotland, worked with Drs. David Bushek and Daphne Munroe to examine sediment changes below oyster farms and impacts on associated infauna. Simon received a travel award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to present his work at the 2023 ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Lauren Renna, from Washington University in St. Louis, worked with Dr. Ximing Guo and Ph.D. student Zhenwei Wang on effects of inbreeding on eastern oyster larvae. Lauren discovered that the effect of inbreeding on larvae is not universal but dependent on genetic background, and oyster larvae prefer oyster shells rather than clam and scallop shells for settlement. Lauren presented her work at the 115th Meeting of the National Shellfisheries Association in Baltimore, MD, and received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship award. She went on to pursue a Ph.D. from Brown University.
Brynne Wisner, from Michigan State University, worked with Dr. Munroe to study the genetic and morphological characteristics of a clam population on the southern edge of its range.
Glen Diamond, from Rutgers University, assisted Master’s student Elizabeth Bouchard in processing hundreds of sediment samples for horseshoe crab eggs and resident infauna.
Taylor Dolan, from Loyola University Maryland, worked with Dr. Ximing Guo to find out what the reproductive potential of the triploid Eastern oyster is relative to the diploid Eastern oyster. She cultured, counted, and measured triploid and diploid oyster larvae in the Cape Shore Laboratory, and learned many other interesting and cool things about aquaculture! They found that the fecundity of triploid oyster was significantly lower than that of the diploid oyster, and that the reproductive potential of the triploids was just 0.00005% of the diploids – diploids are 2 million times more likely to produce viable offspring than the triploids. Taylor received a travel award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to present her work at the 2022 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, HI. She went on to pursue a Ph.D. from Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences.
Arianna Horgan, from , explored the effect of seston size on the gut transit time (GTT) of Crassostrea virginica with Dr. Munroe and graduate student Janine Barr for her senior honors thesis at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her work has implications for projects investigating the nutrient reduction capacity of oysters.
Emma Huntzinger, from Rutgers University, completed a George H Cook Senior Honors Thesis under Dr. David Bushek that examined the settlement of oysters to novel cement formulations designed to reduce carbon footprints of concretes being designed for use in nature-based solutions for shoreline protection.
Grace Jackson, from University of Dayton Ohio, worked with Dr.David Bushek studying Perkinsus marinus, the protozoan parasite which causes dermo disease in the Eastern Oyster. She studied a possible therapy for the disease by heating oysters to 50°C in both a lab and farmed setting, inducing a “fever” that may help them fight off dermo. While her results did not yield statistical significance, a trend was found in the farmed setting which revealed lower dermo levels in heated oysters. Grace received a travel award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to present her work at the 2022 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, HI.
Rebecca Lucero, from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, analyzed how oyster farms may function similarly to oyster reefs in wave attenuation on intertidal sand flats in the lower Delaware Bay. She used wave gauges placed throughout a rack-and-bag oyster farm to measure wave pressure differences between a farm and a control site. Overall, she found no difference in the conditions that were tested (mostly calm conditions); further research will be done to test different weather conditions.
Joseph Nichols, from Virginia Tech, worked to determine how a modification to an Atlantic sea scallop dredge impacted bycatch abundance and size frequency. He found that the modified dredge reduced bycatch when the cutting bar was set at angles of 45 and 60 degrees, yet the size frequency of the catch was unchanged. Joseph also participated in other projects including an oyster survey on a commercial oyster vessel to estimate abundance of oysters in the Delaware Bay.
Nicole Blythel, from Rutgers University, completed Practical Experience Internship learning all aspects of bivalve shellfish cultivation via a summer of hands-on training.
Glenna Dyson-Roberts, from Western Washington University, investigated how cownose rays utilize intertidal sand flats and interact with oyster farms, both areas where little is known about their behavior other than they move through and feed while the flats are inundated. She examined their behavior using sonar (DIDSON) recordings. She found that the rays began using the flats at a threshold temperature of about 18 C with regular and increasing use occurring at 22 C and above. Use also appeared to be linked to tidal phase and interacted with the diurnal cycle.
Rachel Eggleston, from Illinois State University, performed histology and examined gametogenesis (the seasonal development of reproductive glands) in oysters grown at the Cape Shore Lab. She found that oysters had largely finished spawning by the end of June and then compared the cycle with slides in the lab’s archive dating back to 1966. She found that as temperatures have increased with climate change, oysters have begun gametogenesis earlier moving the timing of spawning earlier. Her findings document a previously undescribed impact of climate change on biological and ecological cycles.
Samantha Estrada, from Fairleigh Dickinson University, investigated how horseshoe crabs move through intertidal oyster farms to determine if there were any impacts on their ability to reach spawning beaches. Although the direction of crab movement shifted slightly as they encountered the legs of aquaculture racks, neither oyster aquaculture gear nor tidal conditions affected crab velocity nor distance travelled.
Paul McDonald, from Stockton University, worked with the Guo lab to study whether Rutgers disease-resistant oysters that have been selectively bred for many generations have adapted to hatchery conditions. Paul cultured larvae from the selected strain and wild Delaware Bay oysters under hatchery and “natural” or more stressful (unfiltered seawater and fluctuating salinity) conditions. Paul was able to show that the selected oyster larvae survived better under hatchery conditions, while wild larvae survived better under natural conditions, and the selected oyster larvae had a significantly higher settlement success than the wild larvae. Paul’s study indicates the selected strain is better adapted to hatchery conditions than the wild population. He went on to pursue graduate degrees from University of Southern Mississippi (M.S.) and University of Florida (Ph.D.).
Niki Cleary, from Villanova University, studied behavior of horseshoe crabs at oyster farms in the Delaware Bay using sonar technology. Her results showed that crabs move among oyster farm structures at the same rate as elsewhere along the Delaware Bay shoreline. Niki presented her results at two national conferences on fisheries and oceanography.
Casey Jones, from Rutgers University, studied the relationship between increased frequency and magnitude of tides exceeding higher high tide levels from sea level rise, abundances of migrating red knots, and spawning horseshoe crabs along the Cape Shore region aquaculture development zone. He found that there was a sharp increase in the frequency and magnitude of the inundation between and 2005 that is associated with a change in the use of the region by red knots. Horseshoe crab spawning data did not extend that far back in time, but recent data show a sharp increase in spawning activity that may increase use of the region by red knots in the future. Collectively, these data indicate that the rejuvenation of intertidal oyster aquaculture in 2012 is not related to red knot use of the Cape Shore region. Casey presented his work at the 2019 Biennial Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit.
Mike DiLorenzo, from Rutgers University, completed Practical Experience Internship learning all aspects of bivalve shellfish cultivation via a summer of hands-on training with a focus on microalgal/phytoplankton cultivation.
Nadja DiMartino, from UC Santa Cruz, learned new skills in crab larval husbandry in order to study whether maternal characteristic like size or weight affect the size or specific morphology of her offspring. The size of a crab zoea can influence how strongly it can swim, or its over all survival.
SeungWhan (Steve) Lee, from Rutgers University, studied ages of sublegal (discarded) Summer Flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) from the recreational fishery in New Jersey. Steve’s project demonstrated that female fish tend to enter the fishery about 2 to 3 years younger than male fish.
Nate Morris, from Connecticut College, worked on surfclam (Spisula solidissima) farming experiments. During his internship he cultured baby surfclams and collected data to test what types of nursery gear perform best for growth and survival. He also helped with data collection at local clam farms for field growout experiments.
Bree Cerione, from Cumberland County Community College, assisted with Delaware Bay Oyster Stock monthly monitoring and field sampling of nekton communities using living shoreline installations in Delaware Bay.
Ryan Harner, from Stockton University, studied the population characteristics of Summer Flounder (Paralichthys dentatus). Ryan sampled Summer Flounder on board recreational for-hire vessesls and measured, and took sex data for all discarded fish. His results suggest that there are regional and seasonal trends in the discarded fish, such that males tend to be larger in the north, and more males enter the catch as the season progresses.
Rachel Marshall, from the University of Rhode Island, studied the sex ratios of discarded Summer Flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) in the New Jersey recreational fishery. Rachel’s results showed that a high proportion of the discarded fish (smaller than the legal size limit) are males; whereas the catch (those bigger than the limit) were largely females.
Rachel Sheppard, from the University of Massachusetts, helped with sampling plankton in Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor. Her results showed that the plankton composition varies throughout the BBLEH system, and that bivalve larvae are found throughout.
Courtney Cochran, from Texas Christian University, studied the effects of global fisheries on waved whelk (Buccinum undatum) size of maturity and growth. In her research, Courtney used a wide meta-analysis of the literature to examine the patterns among global stocks and compared those to samples taken in from the MidAtlantic. Her results suggest that global stocks may change in response to fishing, with size of maturity decreasing with fishing pressure.
Francesca Roselli, from Rutgers Universty, studied the population biology of Oyster Toadfish, Opsanus tau, in New Jersey Estuaries. She sampled fish from both the Delaware Bay and Barnegat Bay, examining weight, length, sex, maturity and age of each fish. Comparison between estuaries suggested that the two populations may differ in growth and timing of spawning.
Collin Dobson, from Rutgers University, studied the Waved Whelk (Buccinum undatum) in the mid-Atlantic Bight, focusing on the biology of the commercial catch and its population distribution. He found significant differences in whelk phenotypes among fishing locations, suggesting limited population connectivity.
Laura Gray, from Oberlin College, investigated sediment characteristics governing biological productivity in ancient clam gardens. Results of this work suggested that increased shell hash in surface sediments and greater fractions of subsurface sediment of a large grain size may contribute to observed enhancement of clam biomass in clam gardens compared to control beaches.
Lauren Huey, from Rutgers University, studied competition for food and suspended particles, including the agent of dermo disease, Perkinsus marinus, between oysters and filter- feeding tunicates living on the oysters. Results of her work will show whether consumption of P. marinus by tunicates reduced the rate at which oysters became infected with the pathogen, a phenomenon she calls commensal dilution.
Joseph (Packy) Looney, from Rutgers University, examined mortality patterns and levels of waterborne pathogens at varying salinities, with focus on the parasite, Perkinsus marinus, cause of dermo disease in oysters. His results showing a strong positive effect of salinity on mortality of this pathogen in seawater. These results will be used in mathematical modeling studies of marine parasites.
William Schroer, from Allegheny College, studied the the effect of the tidal cycle on levels of Vibrio bacteria in intertidal aquacultured oysters. A few members of this group of bacteria may cause illness in human consumers, thus this project will provide information that could help decisions about when during the tidal cycle is the best time to harvest.
Gail Bradbury, from Rutgers University, investigated the genetic differentiation of oysters in Delaware Bay and its relationship with disease.
Kurt Cheng, from Rutgers University, investigated the potential use of ribbed mussels as filters to capture oyster parasites.
Jenny Paterno, from Stockton College, analyzed bouyancy and sedimentation of Perkinsus marinus (Dermo disease pathogen) to help determine mechanisms of dispersal through the water.
Joshua Kauffman, from Rutgers University, pursued a study entitled “The sexual preferences of Perkinsus marinus“. Josh attended the 2009 meeting of the National Shellfisheries Association in Savannah, GA, where he presented his poster describing his studies.
Douglas Zemeckis, from Rutgers University, carried out a project on “Early summer transmission of Perkinsus marinus to eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica, in two Delaware Bay tributaries”. Doug attended the 2009 meeting of the National Shellfisheries Association in Savannah, GA, where he presented his poster describing his studies.
Thomas Evans, from Juniata College in Pennsylvania, conducted research on a project entitled “Using microsatellites to determine if two rivers in the Delaware Bay are supporting disease refugia for the eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) populations”. Tom presented a poster, describing his research, at the annual principal investigators meeting (Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Programs) in Albuquerque, NM in December 2007; and, at the National Shellfisheries Association meeting in Providence, RI in April, 2008.
Jeffrey Pydeski, from West Virginia University, studied “The role of transmission and infection in establishing refugia from two protozoan oyster diseases in Delaware Bay”. Jeff presented a poster, describing his research, at the annual principal investigators meeting (Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Programs) in Albuquerque, NM in December 2007; and, at the National Shellfisheries Association meeting in Providence, RI in April, 2008.