Field Experiences in South Texas
The University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Jillian Rowley

June 14th, 2010 Posted in General, NERR

Hello! My name is Jillian Rowley, and I am a student at the University of Texas at Austin working toward a major in Environmental Science and Sustainability. This summer, I will be working with Dr. Benjamin Walther, looking at the geochemical records of temperature and salinity recorded in shells of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. This will be accomplished by measuring carbon-13 and oxygen-18 isotope ratio profiles of oyster shells from Copano Bay, a subset of the Mission-Aransas estuary. Oysters will be collected from two locations in the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve where gauges have measured salinity and temperature daily since 2007. We will sample increments along the ligament of recent oyster shells and compare our results to gauge data collected from the NERR. These comparisons will help us see if patterns of freshwater inflow into Copano Bay can be determined using isotope ratio proxies. The drought of 2009 to the wet season of 2010 should be the most prominent pattern derived from the data, where the change in salinity should correspond to the change in isotope values. Additionally, we will try to answer two questions: at what temperature the oysters cease to precipitate their shell and whether the reduction of growth rates in aging oysters affects isotopic composition. This study will provide a basis for further work reconstructing a longer history of freshwater inflow into Texas estuaries using modern and archaeological specimens.

  1. 2 Responses to “Jillian Rowley”

  2. By Heather Flynn on Jun 14, 2010

    I love your picture! You sound like you are learning so much! I can’t wait to hear more about it! Have fun!

  3. By Robert Rich on Jun 14, 2010

    Jillian, this sounds like a heck of a program you’ve gotten yourself into. I hope you have a blast and can’t wait to learn about all the exciting information you’ll be discovering over the coming weeks!

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