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.”[Continue Reading]