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SEE HOW: FSU grad student finds a new way to restore oysters in Dickerson Bay

Posted at 6:15 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 18:15:38-04
  • Oysters are a big deal in the Panacea neighborhood.
  • Betsy Stewart, an FSU graduate student discovered a way to produce more of them in Dickerson Bay.
  • Watch the video to find out how she's doing it and how it helps the environment.


Betsy Stewart is an FSU graduate student.

She studies Aquatic Environmental Science.

Her research brings her to the Panacea neighborhood where oysters are a big deal.

"I'm glad I jumped on it when I had the chance."

She's testing oyster production here.

She's been working on the idea for more than a year.

Helping oysters grow while using eco-friendly materials.


Group working to restore oyster populations along Wakulla County coast

"I use steel galvanized metal so it's basically chicken wire and I take the chicken wire and roll it into a tube like cage and I fill it about halfway with oyster shells."

Then she piled the oyster shells top of the cage. She discovered this helped more oysters form.

"Oysters are attracted to themselves so when they spawn and reproduce the babies will attract to their shell."

She tried something new and didn't know if it would work.

"I've never seen that in person who knows maybe that doesn't actually work, but it does which is really really cool to see."

And she says the results were noticeable.

"The water quality, I mean you take a photo over here and you compare it to last year, you can see a difference."

Betsy did this project while interning with the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab at their dock.

Cypress Rudloe with the lab says he's proud to see the next generation doing this work.

"Watching people like her starting out as a young college kid and then slowly growing into a young biologist and hopefully a business owner one day has been the neatest part of our AmeriCorps program and our internships."

The living dock is where they do their research at the lab and they call it a learning platform for the next generation.

"The goal of Gulf Specimen is to take complex marine science and teach it to the general public and we do that with the living dock."

And that's why Betsy says she does it, to show others it helps everyone.

Now she's continuing this research even further.

"Looking at all these other benefits, like commercial fishing and recreational fishing and other aquaculture farmers just having those environmental conditions that are helping their livelihood."

Betsy's research doesn't stop here. Here's where you can follow along with her journey