October is National Seafood Month! Celebrate by tuning in Monday October 19 from 1-3 pm EST for a Reddit "Ask Us Anything" with NOAA scientists as they explore "The Hidden Powers of Shellfish Aquaculture." If you're a seafood lover and enjoy eating oysters, clams, and mussels, you may be interested to know they provide a lot more than just tasty bites.
As scientists who love shellfish here at NOAA, Dr. Julie Rose (Northeast Fisheries Science Center) and Dr. Suzanne Bricker (NCCOS) look at everything from microscopic larvae to ecosystem models. Shellfish are filter feeders, and they take excess nutrients out of the water when they eat plankton - the same excess nutrients that are causing huge problems in the quality of our coastal waters. Using field studies, laboratory studies, information from shellfish farmers, and models, they're finding that this removal of nutrients by shellfish - called bioextraction - can improve water quality. Rose and Bricker are currently exploring how shellfish farming and restoration could be incorporated into existing programs that manage nutrients in our coastal waters, ways to pay shellfish farmers for the nutrient removal services they are providing, and the economic benefits that shellfish provide to our coastal communities.