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UMBC’s Colleen Burge helps show oyster aquaculture can limit disease in wild oysters

Excerpt: The potential spread of disease from farmed oysters to wild oysters is a frequent concern for oyster producers and consumers alike. Contrary to common perceptions, new UMBC research in Aquaculture Environment Interactions has found that properly managed oyster aquaculture operations can actually help limit the spread of disease among wild oysters.

“This is another line of evidence saying that oyster aquaculture can be a good thing,” says Colleen Burge, assistant professor of marine biotechnology at UMBC, and a co-author on the study.

“The established way of thinking is that disease spreads from aquaculture, but in fact aquaculture may limit disease in nearby wild populations,” adds Tal Ben-Horin, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Rhode Island and the lead author on the study.

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December Ecosystems Services Photo Contest Winner

Congratulations Nyle Taylor

Nyle Taylor: This photo was taken by our divers off the east side of Harstine Island. In the background, you can just make out the shadows of two of our divers working to install mesh tubes underwater. In the process, schools of shiner perch and flounder are attracted into our work site to feed on organisms that have been brought to the surface of the sand through the tube installation process. The fish dart in and out from between the tubes. Despite our diver’s presence, the fish are highly active, even right in the vicinity of their work.

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November Ecosystem Services Photo Contest Winner

Congratulations Ben Reynolds

“I found these crabs hanging around one of many buoy line in Spencer Cove in the south Puget Sound. Buoys and lines are useful tools for anyone who utilizes the ocean and its natural resources as markers, way points, and boundaries. Kelp crabs, oblivious to the original intent of ropes, utilize these lines to buoys as a high point to capture passing food mimicking their namesake, kelp.”

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September / October Ecosystems services photo contest winner

Congratulations Wesley Hull

“The Opalescent nudibranch (Hermissenda crassicornis) is just one of many organisms inhabiting our oyster rafts. With the rugose assemblage of barnacles and other encrusting organisms growing on or rafts providing shelter for a diversity of predators and prey, our oyster rafts promote a healthy and diverse community of benthic invertebrates.”

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