Nature in Culture: Nurturing Oysters Naturally

The Pacific Oyster is an invasive species. As it moves along the coast, it ‘colonises’ the rocky shoreline. And as with settler colonialism, this oyster comes to stay, picking off the prime spaces in the intertidal zone ensuring it gets maximum nutrition while displacing native Sydney Rock Oysters to rocky perches that are reached by sea and nutrients only at high tide.

Mitchell Gibbs, a Dunghutti man from Kempsey near Port Macquarie, NSW, is focusing his PhD research on oysters – especially oyster and oyster habitats on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales. As this podcast reveals, his research is based firmly in scientific method, and it is threaded through with an intense interest in traditional Aboriginal oyster farming practices – practices that protected and enhanced oyster habitats and promoted sustainable harvesting.

Focusing on the stressors of climate change – ocean acidification and temperature – on oyster populations, Mitchell seeks to find out what impact they have on the next generations of oysters. Mitchell is keen to blend Indigenous knowledge and science systems with the Western scientific knowledge and approaches and looks at how they can move together in expanding our understanding of the world.


Episode 2 of The Re-(E)mergence of Nature in Culture series convened by Dr Christine Winter and Michelle St Anne.

The Re-(E)mergence of Nature in Culture podcast series originated from a two-day symposium, the second of its kind. It’s an opportunity for Indigenous scholars and people working with Indigenous scholars and Indigenous peoples to come together, discuss the ways in which culture and nature are entwined in the philosophies, lives and strengths of indigenous peoples. Importantly, we reflect on the leadership these perspectives offer as the world faces multiple challenges such as climate change, pollution and associated biocultural destruction.


Timestamps

00:11   Understanding Oysters in a Warming World
02:55   Native vs. Invasive Species
06:35   Indigenous Aquaculture Practices
10:15   Restoring Lost Traditions
12:45   Navigating Conflicting Systems
16:00   Sustainability Rooted in Tradition
17:35   What can Science Learn from Indigenous Knowledge
21:50   Bridging the Divide Between Two Cultures

Speaker

Mitchell Gibbs, a Dunghutti man from Kempsey near Port Macquarie, NSW, is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Sydney School of Life and Environment Science. His research focuses on oysters – especially oyster and oyster habitats on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales. Mitchell has a particular interest in traditional Aboriginal oyster farming practices – practices that protected and enhanced oyster habitats and promoted sustainable harvesting.