Mussels living on oyster reefs boost Chesapeake Bay filtration

By on September 24, 2014
Hooked mussels (smaller shells) are common inhabitants of oyster-reef habitats in Chesapeake Bay (Credit: Chris Judy/ Maryland DNR)

A collaborative study by the University of Maryland, Virginia Institute of Marine Science and other researchers shows that mussels on oyster reefs increases filtration in the bay, according to a release by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Oysters and mussels both filter plankton from the water, cleaning and improving water quality as a result. The researchers discovered during the experiment that certain types of mussels boosted the reef’s filtration levels and could filter a class of tiny plankton the oysters could not.  The scientists plan to expand their research to include another oyster reef resident, the tunicate.

Image: Hooked mussels (smaller shells) are common inhabitants of oyster-reef habitats in Chesapeake Bay (Credit: Chris Judy/ Maryland DNR)

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