(April 12, 2022) --

DISL graduate student Mimi Eason won the best student poster at the recent Benthic Ecology Meeting that was held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Eason's poster, "Everything in Moderation: Timing of predation risk during early development influences oyster shell morphology", covered research she completed as an NSF-REU student.

Eason was selected for the Dauphin Island Sea Lab NSF-REU program in 2021. She completed the program and published a paper on her findings in the Gulf and Caribbean Research Journal. 

Oysters are a critically important foundation species in estuaries, and they are a commercial fishery and contribute to the economy and culture of the Alabama Coast. Oysters can grow a stronger shell when exposed to cues from blue crabs, and by growing a stronger shell they survive more often when put on natural oyster reefs and on oyster farms. Eason's research examined how changing the duration and timing of exposure to blue crabs influenced oyster growth, shell strength, susceptibility to blue crabs, and ultimately survival. Her results are important for oyster reef aquaculture and restoration.

Eason is from Flagstaff, Arizona. She began the Master in Sciences program in Ecotoxicology at the University of South Alabama in the Spring of 2022. She works with Senior Marine Scientist Dr. Lee Smee in his lab at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Smee is DISL's University Programs Chair and a professor of Marine Science at the University of South Alabama.