University of New Hampshire – Wireless Sensor Network for the Restoration of Oyster Beds in the Great Bay

Oysters are an essential component of New Hampshire’s Great Bay ecosystem, filtering pollutants out of the water to help other organisms survive. However, due to over-fishing and disease, the oyster population has been rapidly declining, causing dangerous environmental effects.

The Oyster Restoration Program at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) worked with the non-profit organization Nature Conservancy to restore the oyster population in the Great Bay in Eastern New Hampshire. In order to succeed, they needed to measure the rate of sedimentation from rivers and tributaries to track how quickly new oysters may be covered with sediment from throughout the state.

IEEE-UNH utilized their EPICS in IEEE grant to partner with the Oyster Restoration Program and the Nature Conservancy to tackle a seemingly insurmountable problem. The team built an electronic data logger with water flow measurement capabilities. The logger was able to track how water flow changes throughout the tidal cycle, all while incorporating a GPS reading and specialized sensors for location accuracy. This logger has dramatically improved the quality of data surrounding oyster conservation efforts and has helped conservation scientists to grow the overall population within the Great Bay.

Author: Michele Currenti

Michele is a creative content intern in Educational Activities at IEEE. She is currently pursing her masters in Voice & Opera at the University of Maryland, College Park. She also completed a Bachelor of Science in Brain & Cognitive Science at the University of Rochester and a Bachelor of Music at the Eastman School of Music. She is interested in finding the various intersections of science and the arts to better humanity.