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This is Luke

Luke is a Marine Biologist working to restore the overexploited native oyster reefs along the coast of the UK. These reefs are crucial habitats for hundreds of species and the oysters are critical for healthy, clean oceans.

With your help

Luke can restore millions of oysters increasing the health of the surrounding ocean. His work will give a better understanding of the native oyster’s contribution to oceans’ water quality and biodiversity, which affects everyone.

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Profile picure of Luke Helmer

The Solent, England

Blue Marine Foundation

Luke Helmer

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Awards & features:

BBC News logoThe Guardian logo

Why care

Oysters are a key species for maintaining the health of our oceans: they filter and clean water, provide habitat for hundreds of species and reduce the impacts of excess nutrients. However, the oyster population has declined significantly in the UK due to overfishing, diseases and environmental pressures.

Luke Helmer [object Object],[object Object]

The work

Luke is a Marine Biologist and Habitat Restoration Specialist working for BLUE’s Oyster Restoration Project.

  • Luke works to restore oysters by protecting them and their surrounding ocean so they can reproduce and become stronger as a population. 

  • Luke monitors the oysters in cages placed along the coast so they successfully can spawn and release billions of larvaes which is crucial for their survival and the growth of the oyster reefs.

  • He works to increase the coverage of healthy oyster sea beds in protected areas.

  • He's developing new oyster production sites and techniques, including an oyster hatchery.

  • He works to raise public awareness of the importance of oysters for ocean health.

  • He's producing an ‘oyster restoration bible’ so that other countries can benefit from the learnings of him and his team, to restore their oyster populations.


Achievements

  • Developed and pioneered a method of increasing larval output from adult oysters that is now being rolled out across the UK.

  • The oysters in this system were calculated to have released over 1 billion larvae into the Solent, a coastal area between Portsmouth and Isle of Wight. 

  • Restored 69,000 oysters to the Solent.

  • Engaged with hundreds of school children, 70 of which were able to visit one of the study locations and get hands on to see what it is like to be a Marine Biologist for a day.

  • Published two scientific papers, one of them detailing why Active Management is needed for oyster restoration and has been read over 300 times and cited by 9 other peer-reviewed publications.


Sustainable development goals
SDG 14 Life Below Water

The mission

Luke is on a mission to restore the lost oyster reefs along the coast of England by making sure the oysters get the chance to reproduce and by protecting the marine habitat they live in.

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