Oyster Reef field work and prepping for laboratory analysis

Today was a long, hot and wet day out in the field collecting oyster cores and bags from our research site at Cape Canaveral National Seashore.

Time lapse of the long march to the research site

Masters student Jennifer Spain is testing recruitment differences between oyster cores and oyster bags.

M. S. Student Jennifer Spain field sampling her oyster reefs
Oyster cores
Oyster bags

While oyster bags are well established methods for protecting shorelines and recruiting oysters by providing conspecific cues, they rely on the use of plastics. Oyster cores remove these extra plastics from estuaries but which method is best? Well hopefully be able to contribute answers to these questions soon!

Time lapse video of field sampling with Dr. Krejci, Jennifer Spain and Cameron Eskew

After field sampling the oysters were transported back to the lab and placed in a recirculating aquaculture system. Jennifer will be examining these shells and cores for settled organisms over the next few days.

Cleaning macro algae from collected samples

A beginning!

Very excited that we were able to get our first large recirculating system up and running! It will soon be filled with oysters and then will be transitioned into one of our ocean acidification systems.

Field work? Hurricane? Oh Florida!

Poor MS student, Jennifer, might have a slight delay in collecting her oysters from the field for lab analysis due to impending tropical storm Isaias. Even with the weather we are still working to get all our field gear together so we can be ready when the storm clears.

We have corals!

Yesterday Dr. Krejci and undergraduate researcher, Cameron Eskew, took a road trip to Nova Southeastern Univeristy to pick up baby stony corals (Porites astreoides) donated by professor Dr. Joana Figueiredo. Cameron was able to get a tour of the lab, advice about coral care and graduate school.

The road trip was 3.5 hours each way and the corals arrived Bethune-Cookman Univeristy around 11pm. They were slowly acclimated to their new tank where they will be monitored daily for the next few weeks.

Cameron’s future research on the corals will be comparing how supplemental feeding can improve growth rates. Stony corals along the Florida reef tract are being devastated by diseases and climate change. Researchers around the state are making significant progress on captive spawning and restoration methods to aid in fighting reef loss. We are happy to be apart of that fight now at B-CU!

Video of coral pick up and transport from NSU to BCU

Little video of lab today

Saturday in the lab writing proposals and feeding fish! Our afternoon feed was some home grown harpacticoid (Tisbe) copepods for the seahorses and adult artemia for the pipefish

Celebrating Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

Today is Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s birthday. It’s an honor to be contributing to her legacy at the great Bethune-Cookman Univeristy! Here is a video discussing her beginnings and some of her many accomplishments for supporting Black Americans.

Drilling tanks ✅

Today was a hot and wet day drilling the tanks for two different studies: ocean acidification impacts on seahorse ossification and temperature impacts on seahorse gene expression (a collaboration with Dr. Michelle Gaither at UCF).

All the tanks were drilled without cracking 😅 and are ready for bulkheads and plumbing tomorrow. Updates will continue 😃


The Krejci Aquatic Research Laboratory contributed to “CHAPTER 2: PHYSICAL
SETTING OF THE HALIFAX RIVER AND ITS WATERSHED” of the book which was inspired by recent B-CU Biology Graduate, Jehmia Williams senior thesis work. Jehmia attended a summer internship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts and came back wanting to study water quality in the local Halifax River.

Screen grab book cover

Dr. Krejci identified a large water quality data set from St Johns Water Management District available for analysis and roped in Dr. Juan Calderon, B-CU Assistant Professor in Computer Science, and Danithza “Danny” Rojas-Torres, M.S. Microbiology from Universidad Nacional de Colombia for help. Dr. Calderon and Danny wrote a program in Python to clean the data set for analysis.

The team is finishing their manuscript for publication, but we’re excited to contribute to the first book of its kind on sustainability issues related to the Halifax River. Congratulations to Jehmia on her first publication! Check out the full book here.