The Statewide Oyster Spat Monitoring (OSM) project is a volunteer‐based environmental monitoring
project established by the UNCW Benthic Ecology Laboratory in 2007. At its peak, the OSM project had more than 70 sampling sites and over 200 volunteers. The objective of this project is to collect oyster larvae settlement data throughout coastal NC to inform scientific research and restoration efforts of this very important species.
In 2020, the MarineQuest Lab at UNCW’s Center for Marine Science adopted the project to continue this important work. The Coastal Resiliency Ambassador is the main contact for the project and is responsible for training and managing volunteer citizen scientists to collect oyster larvae settlement data. By educating volunteer citizen scientists about the importance of oysters in our coastal waterways and enlisting their help to gather data, we hope to build a more resilient community. The work that our citizen scientists do is invaluable and will help scientists inform research and policy in our coastal communities.