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OysterCorps Interns - Summer 2022

The ABSI oyster hatchery team is excited to welcome our hatchery interns for the summer. Four of our interns are from the OysterCorps which is a specialized branch of the Franklin’s Promise Coalition and the Conservation Corps of the Forgotten and Emerald Coasts. Elijah Mathes, Landen Millender, Hayden Mock, and Austin Taunton are all young adults local to the Franklin County area. Through their internship this summer, they will be an integral part of the oyster hatchery’s production season.

Throughout this summer, these interns will be trained in all aspects involved with oyster production and aquaculture. This process begins with the collection, selection, and care of broodstock oysters from Apalachicola Bay, where they will learn the importance of husbandry to culturing animals. Additionally, they will be a part of the spawning process of adult oysters to produce larval oysters. Here they will learn to sex animals, isolate gametes, and fertilize eggs. Finally, senior staff will train the interns to care for larval oysters and facilitate the setting process, which produces spat. The interns will be trained to perform drain downs, grade size classes, and determine if larval oysters are viable to settle. The spat they help produce will be used for restoration experiments run by ABSI.

In addition, this summer the interns will participate in a seminar series focused on introducing the interns to the diversity of careers in aquaculture. The ABSI hatchery team will host professionals from biologists and researchers to managers and industry farmers who will speak about their career paths in aquaculture, and the interns will have the opportunity to directly interact with these professionals about their work and careers.

So far, the interns’ favorite part of the job is assisting with the spawning and fertilization for larval oysters, however, they are excited to continue learning about oyster production in a hatchery. By the end of the summer, we hope the interns will have all the skills necessary to continue in an aquaculture career if they choose a career in this field.

Lazzara Family Program - Summer 2022

The ABSI oyster hatchery team is proud to have two interns jointly funded by ABSI and the Lazzara family join our production season this summer. Bailey Kilroy, a recent FSU graduate, and Jordan Elliott, an upcoming junior at FSU, joined the hatchery team in May and will be involved in all aspects of the experimental hatchery’s spawning season this summer.

Over this summer, these interns will be trained by senior staff in broodstock husbandry, oyster spawning and fertilization processes, larval care and growth monitoring, and spat settling. Bailey and Jordan will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the chemical, biological, and physical principles behind culturing animals like water chemistry, filtration, and husbandry. Moreover, they will gain specialized experience in culturing oysters, specifically.

Additionally, they will join their fellow interns from Oyster Corps and be exposed to the diversity of career opportunities in aquaculture through the Aquaculture Lunch Seminar Series. The oyster hatchery team is hosting seminar speakers with a variety of careers from industry specialists and farmers to biologists and managers to allow the interns a firsthand look into aquaculture careers.

Lastly, Bailey and Jordan will also carry out independent research with the goal to create a new hatchery protocol that will benefit the ABSI hatchery in the future. The interns have chosen to explore non-lethal biopsying techniques that will allow staff to sex oysters with little to no mortality associated. The interns will carry out experiments to fine tune the protocol and create the hatchery’s standard operating guidelines. Bailey and Jordan have enjoyed the production season so far and are excited to contribute a technique that will be used at the hatchery well into the future.