Keeping water conditions consistent might not necessarily be better than transferring oysters to a location with better water quality. The researchers are working toward a detailed understanding of how water conditions affect oyster growth.
One of the aspects measured in this project is water chemistry. Global climate change is causing coastal waters to acidify, including those of the Chesapeake Bay system, Rivest says. Any other stressors that oysters encounter in the future will only add to the stress of acidification. Although this year's experiment focuses on effects of salinity on oysters, by measuring water chemistry too, the researchers will have a clearer picture of oysters' long-term response to changes in their environment.