Semester of Graduation

Fall 2019


Master of Science (MS)


Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type



Although off-bottom oyster aquaculture is a rising industry in the northern Gulf of Mexico, it is susceptible to biofouling, the accumulation of organisms on industry surfaces. Biofouling creates problems for commercial growers by increasing the costs of labor associated with biofouling management. The most used off-bottom production techniques involve aerial exposure. OysterGro™ 6-slot off-bottom oyster cages were used in this project to test aerial exposure frequency, antifouling coatings and bag position on mortality, growth rates, shell ratios and condition indices on four sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Aerial exposure of floating cages was performed in increments of once a week, once every two weeks, and once every three weeks, with and without antifouling coatings. The results of the experiment suggest that site location makes the largest differences in production; also weekly aerial exposure and bag position inside cages impact production. These effects contributed to differences in size, shape, biofouling accumulation, quality and survival. The use of antifouling coatings on pontoons and bags may have reduced wet bag weights in Florida, but otherwise did not impact production in this project.

Committee Chair

Lutz, Charles Gregory