Filtering Out Pollution

July 28, 2016

Excess nitrogen in coastal waters can cause rapid growth of algae-microscopic marine plants that can turn waters murky and, in some cases, toxic. Oysters can help remedy the situation.They filter algae out of the water, and they take up some nitrogen and excrete it so it settles to the bottom. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution microbial ecologist Virginia Edgcomb is collaborating with Stonehill Professor Daniel Rogers to look at whether oysters can further improve water quality by stimulating bacteria to remove waste nitrogen from bottom sediments. Here, Professor Rogers' students Dan Stone '18, environmental science, and Janelle Shea '18, biology, build traps to collect sediments from an oyster farm in Little Pond, Falmouth. (Thanks to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and to Tom Kleindinst for the photo)