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Oyster farm

Filter Feeders

Woods Hole Sea Grant Extension Agent Joshua Reitsma samples oysters at a farm site in Pleasant Bay in Orleans, Mass. Towns on Cape Cod are looking increasingly to shellfish for help cleaning up waters degraded by excess nitrogen, often caused by fertilizer runoff and septic tanks. Shellfish, such as oysters and quahogs, are efficient filter feeders that help remove excess nitrogen by incorporating it into their shells and tissue as they grow. A new study by Woods Hole Sea Grant, based at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, provides the first comprehensive measurement of nitrogen removed by shellfish harvested from waters off Cape Cod. (Photo by Abigail Archer, Woods Hole Sea Grant)

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