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Mapping Oyster Beds in Apalachicola Bay, FL

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USGS research vessel Rafael
Above: USGS research vessel Rafael in Vineyard Sound, near the vessel's homeport in Woods Hole, MA. [larger version]

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole Science Center's research vessel Rafael, prickling with acoustic sensors, headed to northwestern Florida in March to probe the shallow muddy waters of Apalachicola Bay to develop an updated map of oyster bed distribution in the bay. Apalachicola Bay is the largest oyster fishery in the Southeastern United States, yet its future health is in question because of the growing interest in damming rivers that drain into the bay to meet urban water needs. The mapping, which is being done in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center and the Apalachicola Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, will provide a baseline for future monitoring of the bay. The USGS is taking the lead on collection of sidescan-sonar imagery, bathymetry, and high-resolution seismic data to map the geologic framework of the bay and the distribution of oyster reefs, while NOAA scientists oversee the biological aspects of the study. The Woods Hole "Snowbird" crew headed south in mid-March and will spend a month conducting the geophysical mapping.

Map showing location of study area in Florida.
Above: Location of study area in Florida.

Related Sound Waves Stories
High-Resolution Geologic Mapping of the Shallow Sea Floor off Massachusetts
Dec. 2003 / Jan. 2004

Related Web Sites
Woods Hole Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
NOAA Coastal Services Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Apalachicola Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Tsunami Survey Finds Evidence of Astonishing Wave Heights

Flood-Response Teams Document Effects of Hurricane Charley

Geologist Invited to Map Tsunami Impacts in the Maldives

Mapping Oyster Beds In Apalachicola Bay

USGS Research Vessel Helps Secure Super Bowl

Outreach Tsunami News Conference

Tsunami Web Sites

Staff & Center News Smith Director of National Wetlands Research Center

Stewart Receives Gulf Guardian Award

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