Building on Environmental Activism to Restore Intertidal Oyster Habitat and Conduct Ecological Research

Dr. Keith Walters, Professor in Marine Biology (CCU)
Event Location: 
Event Date: 
Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 3:00pm
Event Type: 
SCMSS Seminar Series


Recognition of a worldwide decline in oyster populations has resulted in increased efforts by environmentalists to enhance or restore oyster reef habitat. Although environmental activism may be seen as controversial and may not rely exclusively on established science, efforts to restore oyster reefs offer an ideal opportunity to conduct ecological research into the dynamics and importance of reef systems. The Coastal Oyster Recycling and Restoration Initiative (CORRI) was established to empower local environmentalists to advance oyster reef restoration efforts along the northern South Carolina coastline. CORRI-created reefs are the basis of varied research projects investigating reef restoration successes and coastal ecosystem services provided by both natural and restored reefs. Juvenile oyster (spat) recruitment, reef population growth, habitat complexity effects on predator-prey dynamics, and factors influencing bivalve filtration all were investigated. Environmentalist’s participation in CORRI facilitated establishment of rigorous, ecological studies on local reef systems. The future challenge is to continue to harness effectively environmental activism and enable natural synergies between the activist ethic and ecological research to develop to the benefit of both the environment and science.

Speaker Information

Dr. Keith Walters is a Full Professor in Marine Biology at Coastal Carolina University in the Department of Marine Science. He received his Ph.D. from the University of South Florida in 1987.

More information about him and his work can be found here.