5 Key Benefits of Oysters for The Ecosystem
Oyster reefs are being cultivated in the UAE not only because of each mollusc's amazing ability to filter over 200 litres of water per day, but they bring a wide range of benefits to the areas they inhabit.
Oyster beds filter the water column, removing nitrogen, sequestering carbon and providing habitats for hundreds of species.
"The pearling industry provided the foundation upon which the UAE was built, but restoration and protection are now, more than ever, crucial activities," DP World stated.
Oyster restoration could revitalise not only the natural environment, but also the cultural heritage around oyster pearls and the history.
Below are the five key benefits of Oysters, as stated in an article shared by DP World on LinkedIn.
1. Removing pollutants - Oysters have been dubbed “ecosystem engineers” and “the kidneys of the ocean” for their role in increasing water clarity and eliminating pollutants such as carbon dioxide and phosphorus.
2. Denitrification - Excess nitrogen from pollution stimulates excessive growth of aquatic plants, especially algae, lowering oxygen levels and blocking out light. Because oysters absorb nitrogen for use in their shells and tissue, they reduce the amount in the water and allow other plants and animals to thrive.
3. Increasing fish populations - Oyster reefs make plentiful feeding grounds, nesting sites and nurseries for fish. This sheltering factor is vital in supporting fish populations.
4. Improving biodiversity - Like coral reefs, oyster reefs make excellent habitats for other marine plants and animals because of the way they grow on top of each other in vast numbers. This creates a strong structure that can be used as a shelter or home for fish and other sea life.
5. Cultural benefits - Building up oyster reefs and restoring water quality has the potential to be a focus for coastal communities, not only through working on the restoration projects but also by enabling them to collectively use and enjoy the cleaner waters.
Oysters have a key role to play in local ecosystems, clearing the water, boosting biodiversity and creating community purpose.
As well as the restoration of reefs in the UAE, there are examples from the Chesapeake Bay to the Solent which demonstrate the oyster’s status as a foundation species and one of our most valuable resources in preserving natural habitats.