Monday, March 1, 2010

Oysters Preparing to Enter the New England Aquarium

As we continue to drive the restoration of oysters to Boston Harbor, it is nice to see a similar effort underway at the region’s premiere aquarium. We have begun working with an aquarist Peter Gawne who is working behind the scenes to keep oysters in a backstage tank in anticipation of eventually putting them into display.
This would sound as simple as dropping them in a tank, but it is far from it. Yes, you could drop them in and they would survive for a while. However, one needs to raise plankton of the proper size to feed them, get it to them before the filter does, maintain the proper water properties, and deal with temperatures that do not swing as widely as those in the open waters.

Here is a photo of Peter hard at work behind the scenes while a young fellow keeps the gawkers at bay. For more pictures go to Oyster Work at the New England Aquarium
We did have significant mortality in the first 13 oysters we supplied to Peter. He has had better luck with larger oysters rescued from Shaw’s Supermarket and a second set we provided to him. We have speculated at length about the mortality, but we just do not have the ability to pin it down.

It would be nice to see the oysters on display given that one of Boston’s oldest restaurants is the Union Oyster House established in 1826 Union Oyster House and that you can see oyster shells in the mortar in the old State House Old State House which dates to 1713.

Peter is an excellent guy and a wonderful teacher. Working with him has been a joy.

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