This week has been a busy week already and we are only on Wednesday! Eric has been processing the oysters which have been collected from the cages and ortacs in Hamble and Langstone harbour, as well as the oysters in the “spa” at IMS and the wild collected Pacific oysters. These are being processed in two different ways; 15 of each are being shucked and freeze dried for CHN analysis and the other 30 are being processed for reproductive analysis – we are taking gill samples, a cross section of the gonads and a sub sample of the gonad tip – this will help understand more the reproductive processes of Native and Pacfic oysters and how it coincides with the seasonal cycles. These are being fixed and then sent to our partners in France at UCN so we hope to have some exciting data to analyse in September.

As well as the oyster processing, Andy and I have been out on the mudflats taking samples of the algal mat – we are looking at the monthly changes in the biomass (dry and wet weight) over the period of a year – fortunately this month we haven’t needed to take the seasonal samples as well so it is less time washing and sieving the algal mat!

Tomorrow are out with the Harbour master in Langstone Harbour to put back the sonde which has been collecting environmental data – including sea surface temperature, pH, turbidity and nitrate levels. We are also heading out to the Ortacs to put back our buoy that decided to make a run for it – we deployed it 24 hours before a big storm – and then also check on the oysters in these systems, give them a good clean and check on any mortalities. It will also give us a good idea of how far we need to kayak out when we need to do the collections next month – I think it’ll be a good workout but at least we’ve got some sunshine now.

Finally, we have also marked out our 8 areas for the algal mat removal work that is due to happen in a couple of week – Eric has honed in his mud walking skills using the mudders and we kept a watchful eye on the areas to ensure they won’t be affected by the boats in the area. We were also joined by a very nosey and noisy Oyster Catcher who seems to have made his home on top of one of the University buildings – I’ll try and grab a picture next time he is around.
So as I said, quite a busy week but it’s peak field work season and I am very lucky to have a job that is so diverse and exciting!

I’ll come back next week with another update as we are doing some bird watching and some sampling for the removal work.
Have a good week,