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Oyster farms make slight improvement in water quality

It’s easy to demonstrate the filtering prowess of oysters by placing them in a small aquarium and filling it with algae-clouded water. Within a few hours, as time-lapse YouTube videos show, the glass tank is nearly crystal clear.

It’s tougher to see that happen in the wild, though. A recent field study by researchers with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science found that oyster farms in the lower Chesapeake Bay had only slight — but positive — impacts on water quality.

“We were expecting to see more effects of the oysters filtering the water than we saw,” said Jessica Turner, a Ph.D. student who was the study’s lead author. But, she added, “They’re not having any negative impacts either, and that’s definitely worth noting.”

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  • Timothy B. Wheeler
  • Fisheries

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