Oysters Filtering Water

Oysters Filtering Water

You’ve likely watched water pass through a Brita filter with tap water going through the top, being filtered and coming out cleaner and tastier.

In the ocean, oysters have a similar function. In fact, one single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day!


The results of human activity such as sewage and fertilizer runoff deposits excess nitrogen and other pollutants into our waters. Even though nitrogen is essential for plant and animal life, too much is damaging. It can cause algae to grow out of control and overwhelm waterways reducing their oxygen productive capacity.

Oysters remove excess nitrogen by incorporating it into their shells and tissues as they grow. They can also clean water of other pollutants from the water and compress them into clusters similar to how pearls are formed. These clusters are deposited on the ocean floor where they’re not harmful.

The benefits don’t stop at clean water though. The cleaner the water is, the easier it is for sunlight to pass through, helping the ocean’s plants, and bacteria to absorb sunlight for photosynthesis and produce more of the earth’s oxygen.

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