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Updated: 04/18/2014 08:00:01AM

Oysters:

So much more than just a tasty snack

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What does an oyster do? Although it may seem they just sit around waiting for someone to douse them with hot sauce and slurp them down, in truth oysters are a critical part of an estuary’s ecosystem.

The first reason is their method of feeding. Oysters, like all other bivalve mollusks (clams, scallops, cockles, etc.) are filter feeders. They suck in water, filter out whatever small edible particles are suspended in it, and spit the water back out. In doing this, they help maintain the clarity of our water. Clear water is important, because where there’s lots of sunlight there’s lots of potential for seagrasses to grow. Oysters may also help prevent algal blooms by removing large quantities of suspended algae from the water.

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