If you need to clean up a waterway, plant an oyster farm. Oysters have been shown to improve water quality by removing nitrogen and other nutrients that in excess can cause dead zones and other problems. But even great natural filters like oysters can’t store 100% of what they take in. So, researchers decided to investigate what happens to the seafloor soils beneath oyster farms where copious amounts of poop hit the ground. Their findings, published in the Journal of Environmental Quality (https
A new field study by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows minimal impacts from oyster aquaculture overall, suggesting that low-density oyster farms located in well-flushed areas are unlikely to impair local water quality. Published in today’s issue of PLOS ONE, the study was authored by VIMS doctoral student Jessie Turner along with Drs. Lisa Kellogg, Grace Massey, and Carl Friedrichs. Partial funding was provided by The Nature Conservancy.
The Nature Conservancy and The University of New Hampshire, together with other partners, are teaming up to rebuild degraded oyster reef habitat in the Piscataqua Region Estuary of New Hampshire and Maine.
Generally, shelled animals—including mussels, clams, urchins and starfish—are going to have trouble building their shells in more acidic water. Mussels and oysters are expected to grow less shell by 25 percent and 10 percent respectively by the end of the century. Urchins and starfish aren’t as well studied, but they build their shell-like parts from high-magnesium calcite, a type of calcium carbonate that dissolves even more quickly than the aragonite form of calcium carbonate that corals use.
oceanic marine nitrogen cycle