SJSU/MLML aquaculture researchers help restore native Olympia oysters to Elkhorn Slough

The first effort to use aquaculture to restore native Olympia oysters in California has proven a success thanks to a team of researchers from San Jose State University/MLML, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and California Sea Grant.

Once so abundant that they could be harvested by the tens of thousands in just a few days, the population of oysters in Elkhorn Slough had plummeted to fewer than 1,000 individuals by 2018. In response to this decline, researchers raised thousands of oysters at the MLML Aquaculture Facility which were then outplanted in Elkhorn Slough. Two years of monitoring have shown that this effort successfully doubled the Olympia oyster population!

SJSU/MLML Research Faculty Member Dr. Luke Gardner reviews the success of this exciting project and the importance on conservation aquaculture in this California Sea Grant story. The results from this project were also published in a scientific journal article in Biological Conservation.