University of Georgia scientists are scrambling to collect data on coastal oysters now in case oil from the spill in the Gulf contaminates them.
Dr. Jeb Byers is leading a team studying oyster reefs along the Georgia coast.
Among other tasks, oyster reefs provide a habitat for fish, filter water, and stabilize sediments.
“Oyster reefs are one of the most important habitats we have. They are like the coral reefs of the temperate zone. The reefs are actually more valuable in terms of the fish that they help to raise than the oysters are themselves.”
The research team wants to collect as much “normal” data as possible before any potential oil arrives.
Byers is hopeful that the oil does not reach the Atlantic coast; but if it does, he and his crew are prepared.