NASA Earth Observatory features UMaine oyster research

The NASA Earth Observatory featured an image produced by UMaine researcher as its image of the day: “Oyster Prospecting With Landsat 8.” The research, led by Jordan Snyder, a graduate research assistant in marine sciences, and Emmanuel Boss, professor of marine sciences, uses satellite data to identify areas along the Maine coast ideal for oyster aquaculture.

With remotely collected data from the NASA Landsat 8 satellite, the researchers were able to derive sea temperature, chlorophyll concentrations and water turbidity along the coast of Maine and rank the each area’s suitability for successful oyster cultivation. According to the release, oysters grow rapidly in relatively warm water with high levels of chlorophyll, and low turbidity. Snyder said several oyster farmers are already using the maps produced by the research team. Based on the successes of the research thus far, the researchers suggest that the method could be adapted for other bivalve species and marine environments outside of the state.