The Oyster Spat Monitoring Project uses an equipment design called the "Spat Rack." A Spat Rack is built with PVC pipe, ceramic tiles, cable ties, and drain hose. Six tiles are placed on a single rack with the smooth area of tile facing the outside and the rough area facing the inside. 

Spat racks are placed in the mid-intertidal area of the coast, always below the marsh grass line. Racks are positioned to mimic local oyster reefs, so that they are fully exposed to air during low tide and submerged during high tide.

 Spat Rack Image Taken by Past Data-Volunteer Coordinator, Heather Stoker.

                  

  Image Taken by Central Coordinator, Jay Styron, at Site N13.

Each volunteer receives two Spat Racks. One rack is placed into the field to sit for 6 weeks. After 4 weeks, the second rack is placed into the field to sit for 6 weeks. After each rack has completed a 6 week cycle, tiles are brought in from the field and volunteers indentify the organisms that have settled on the smooth and rough sides of the tile surface.

After volunteers identify organisms, the tiles are cleaned and cable-tied back to a spat rack. Each rack is placed into the field again, according to the Current Spat Rack Rotation Schedule. Once each spat rack is in a continuous 6 week cycle, there is a 2 week overlap when both racks are in the field together, and a 2 week period when one rack is deployed and the other retrieved.

 

We provide volunteers with all materials required to begin the program. We also train volunteers to identify local groups of animals that settle on the ceramic tiles. In addition, volunteers collect physical data, including salinity of the water, air and water temperature, as well as current weather conditions during physical and tile data collection.


  • CLICK HERE for a quick guide to common organisms.

 

  • CLICK HERE for a downloaded copy of the monitoring protocol (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

 Image Taken by Volunteer, Lee Bailey, at Site C1.

 

 

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER

WITH THIS PROGRAM, PLEASE CONTACT

TROY ALPHIN or SHARON TATEM FOR MORE INFORMATION.