A Study to Assess the Feasibility of Manufactured Artificial Cultch for Oysters – Year II
DNR has determined that oyster shell to be used as shell planting cultch is increasingly difficult to find, and available shell is becoming expensive. This shell is traditionally scattered on suitable tidal banks along the coast to encourage rapid recover of oyster beds that have been harvested by recreational and commercial harvesters. Larval oysters require a calcium-containing substrate to settle upon and grow. The DNR is interested in exploring the possibilities of manufacturing affordable and suitable artificial cultch. Clemson University’s ceramic engineers are uniquely capable of examining this issue and by cooperating with students as class exercises and senior projects; the cost will be much lower than contracting with a private laboratory.
To accomplish this task, the following objectives are being addressed.
- Characterize Oyster Shell from a materials engineering point of view - We will look at porosity, microstructure, chemical composition and crystallographic composition.
- Simulate the shell as closely as possible - We will simulate the shell in terms of composition, microstructure and crystallography. In all probability an exact simulation of all three parameters will not be possible, but we will attempt to simulate them as closely as possible.
- Color and Shape - We will attempt to make artificial cultch with different colors and shapes to see if they are important factors in attracting oyster larvae.
- Testing - Our designs will be tested in seawater to see if the artificial cultch is stable, and suitable for placement in inter-tidal areas.