The World and Her Oysters

by minton on October 23, 2014


Amanda Wright is a Physics major at Roanoke College. A desire to do research brought her to Roanoke College, and she has always had an interest in marine life. The chance to combine the two in a summer project was too good to pass up, even if it was not always clear how the finances were going to work out. Roanoke College graduate Erin Hackett (’00) is an Assistant Professor at the School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science of Coastal Carolina University, and brought Amanda to South Carolina to help with research about oysters in the summer of 2014. Most of Amanda’s work was devoted to calibrating and developing photographic techniques for measuring the movement of oyster larvae. This information is critical in determining how to re-establish oyster reefs. Amanda reports that the oyster reef in the Chesapeake Bay is “functionally extinct” and the world is in real danger of losing a critical part of the marine food chain. Amanda enjoys all of the details and tweaks in setting up the experiments, as well as the collaborations with others in the research group to handle the massive data analysis challenges. Being part of a research team working on an important problem is a great summer experience.