Aquaculture for all

Restoring Waterways with Bivalves

Water quality Oysters Politics +5 more

US - Oysters arent just a tasty dish for a romantic evening. Scientists are turning to the creatures for a decidedly less sexy reason: to clean up polluted bays.

Sponges, oysters, and mussels are excellent multitaskers, writes Alisa Opar in an article previously published by Plenty. They feed by filtering water that rushes over them, pulling out the nutrients they need; in the process, the animals can remove pollutants and pump out cleaner water.

According to Plenty, researchers who support using the animals to remove pollutants from bays, lakes, and rivers do have a few concerns. One question being raised is whether shellfish that have been used to help clean a bay should be sold for human consumption.

Another is whether the creatures will be able to survive in extremely polluted waterways. “It’s a mistake to think that just adding oysters or mussels is going to be enough anywhere,” says Jay Levine, a North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine researcher responsible for leading the cleanup of North Carolina’s Wilson Bay. “But along with other approaches, bivalves can help restore waterways.” Here’s how these invertebrates are taking it all in.

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