Notes from the Field - October 2020

Oysters have a talent for cleansing the aquatic environment as seen in the timelapse below. When their environment is agreeable, they relax and open their shells for a process called filter feeding. Using their four layers of gills, oysters suck tiny algae, nutrients, and particulate matter out of ocean water. The algae and nutrients caught on their gills are moved to the mouth and stomach where digestion and incorporation occur. 

Based on this process, an adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day from our waterways. By doing so, they provide an “ecosystem service” to humans by removing excess nutrients that can cause algal blooms, and clarifying the water. So next time you see an oyster, know that this little guy does mighty things to keep our aquatic environments clean.
 
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