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Learning about aquatic invertebrates

A young boy looks at an invertebrate with a fisheries biologist
A plume worm was discovered by this youngster while he examined the contents of an oyster bag. Photo by USFWS.

In November 2019, Bears Bluff National Fish Hatchery staff held an aquatic invertebrate diversity lab with four third and fourth grade classes and one gifted and talented class at James B. Edwards Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The oyster bag dissection lab provided a hands-on learning opportunity where students could hold and examine various species of fish, crab, annelids, and shrimp that live in the area.

The goal of the lab was to familiarize students with the role that oyster reefs play in the local environment, including their importance as a habitat and nursery environment.

The hatchery uses bags of oyster shells as building blocks for oyster reefs, which enhance fish habitat and rehabilitate areas of salt marsh that are prone to erosion. Before the lab, some bags were hung from a hatchery dock below the low tide mark in the Wadmalaw River. On the morning of the project, the bags were pulled in, and put into large containers of seawater. The students then got to sort through the bags of shells, finding plenty of critters.


Roman Crumpton, Deputy Hatchery Manager, (843) 559-2315 x44204

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