Scientific Oyster Dive Discovers Huge News!

We have some really great news to report: oysters are naturally reproducing in the Severn River!

It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen.

At left is our Field Investigator and oyster diver, Emi McGeady, pointing to an oyster that attached itself to piece of the granite substrate on the restoration reef known as Weems Upper. 

The biological clue here is that the oyster attached itself to the granite substrate on the restoration reef known as Weems Upper. 

This is dramatically different from how oysters grow from the spat-on-shell that we purchase from the Horn Point Hatchery in Cambridge, Md, for our oyster restoration programs. See image below. 

Emi studied scientific oyster diving techniques under the direction of Audrey Pleva, with the University of Maryland’s renowned Paynter Lab.

Developing this in-house capability for SRA is made possible by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

This reproduction discovery was made this July by Emi and Audrey while conducting scuba diving operations to determine oyster population, density, survivability, sedimentation and other factors affecting oyster restoration efforts.

More good news: Our divers report that based on preliminary counts, our oysters are doing well.

There’s a healthy density of oysters on all five of our restoration reefs and they’re all just waiting for that magic moment when the moon is right, the music soft, the candles glowing …

Here are some more images of our dive team in action:

Emi carries heavy load of oysters for counting


This little worm, a polychaete, is an oyster destroyer! Polychaete are one of the predators that feed on oysters.


One of dozens of buckets of oyster samples (each is returned to their reef of origin).


A hard day’s work – buckets of oysters to be counted


Emi & Audrey count and measure oysters


What? There’s more to count???