Funded by the NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority-Serving Institutions Cooperative Agreement Award #NA16SEC4810009

TITLE: Re-immersion time for reduction of Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus to ambient concentrations in Eastern Oysters

NOAA NERTO Mentor: John Jacobs, NCCOS/Oxford, NOAA NOS



Oyster aquaculture is an important industry in the State of Maryland. When oysters are grown in submerged cages fouling organisms attach to the cage and oysters, impacting water flow and feeding. To reduce fouling, farmers remove cages and oysters from the water for a desiccation period for up to 24 hours. This has been recognized to elevate levels of Vibrio spp., heterotrophic bacteria found in coastal waters world-wide.

Some species such as V. vulnificus cause illness in people associated with consumption of raw shellfish including gastroenteritis, and in more extreme cases, mortality. Oysters can depurate Vibrio, and a 14-day re-immersion period has been suggested as adequate to return to background levels. Currently, there have been no studies specific to Maryland waters that examine Vibrio levels following antifouling dry periods and re-immersion for various intervals.



To address this information gap, we initiated ISSC-sponsored research to determine the time needed to return V. vulnificus levels to background and to determine whether salinity, temperature, or intersite differences impact depuration rates. V. vulnificus levels were measured using the most-probable number enrichment protocol followed by real-time PCR to determine presence/absence. Preliminary data from one site suggests that a 7-10 day period is sufficient to reduce Vibrio vulnificus levels to background; data from other sites is being processed. 

Congratulations to all of our recent Spring 2020 graduates!


Kennedy Jones Spring 2020 Graduate
Kennedy Jones, BS in Biology, JSU

Terrius Bruce, Florida A&M University, Environmental Studies

Kennedy Jones, Jackson State University, Biology

Miya Pavock-McAuliffe, California State University Monterey Bay, Marine Science

Shaquilla Rolle, Florida A&M University, Environmental Studies

Miracle Vance, Jackson State University, Biology

Natalie Vaughn, California State University Monterey Bay, Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy

Ki'Anna Watson, Bethune-Cookman University, Chemistry

Miranda White, Bethune-Cookman University, Environmental Science

Riley Young, California State University Monterey Bay, Marine Science


On Monday 9 March, 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis, announced a State of Emergency as a result of risks related to COVID-19. As a precaution all on-campus Florida A&M University gatherings and events that involve community participation have been canceled or postponed. This includes the 10th Biennial NOAA EPP/MSI Education and Science Forum, which has been postponed until further notice.

To date, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the FAMU campus, in Leon County or in Tallahassee. FAMU administration is continuing to follow developments in the Coronavirus outbreak closely and will follow guidance from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Homeland Security, the Florida Department of Health and the Leon County Health Department as the situation changes.

We have thought hard about all the options available to us, including making portions of the Forum remote, but decided that the best decision at this time, out of abundance of caution and for the safety of all participants and organizers, is to postpone the Forum to a later date.

All Forum registrations will remain active and held until the new dates are identified. Registration refunds are available upon request. To request a refund, please email the Forum's conference planner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

When the new Forum dates are identified, the planning committee will communicate with registrants. Stay tuned and stay safe.  

For further updates visit

Research Vessel Point Sur

NOAA CCME Scholar Queriah Simpson, CCME Faculty members Dr. Steve Morey and Dr. Michael Martinez-Colon are aboard the Research Vessel Point Sur taking part in the Hydrodynamics and Habitat Suitability for Meiofauna And Corals (HydroSMAC) Mission. The mission will be using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Global Explorer to study benthic communities off the West Florida Escarpment (WFE).

Steve Morey aboard the HydroSMAC Mission
Our mission focuses on exploration of deep (>1,000m) habitats of the WFE, with particular emphasis on hard-bottom communities such as corals and sponges, and the tiny animals called meiofauna that live in sediments. Our objectives are to generate new data on distribution of coral species in this understudied area, and to assess whether we can use meiofauna communities as indicators of ambient current regimes. We will work with NOAA collaborators to incorporate our data into their Habitat Suitability Models and to ‘ground truth’ oceanographic current models.

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This study is funded by NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research