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Top Story

Climate change may benefit native oysters, but there’s a catch

Amid efforts to restore native oyster populations on the West Coast, how are oysters expected to fare under climate change in the decades and centuries to come? Not too badly, according to a study from National Science Foundation-funded researchers at the University of California, Davis. But there’s a big “if” involved. In the study, researchers investigated oysters in the lab and in oyster beds at California’s Tomales Bay and San Francisco Bay. They found that certain components of climate change may actually benefit oysters in California in the long term, provided they have enough food, because they tend to grow faster at warmer temperatures. Good news? Not so fast. Meet oyster drills, two species of predatory snails introduced to California from the East Coast and Asia. While oysters are more tolerant of extreme temperatures and low salinity, such as can occur during floods, warming over the next few decades first benefits the oyster drills, increasing the rate at which they eat the oysters.

Visit Website | Image credit: Brian Cheng/UC Davis