JOIN US for a discussion on new research looking at how oysters – which can filter over a gallon of water every hour – can help the environment adapt to excess pollutants entering our coastal waters from fertilizers and sewage.

Shellfishermen from Matunuck Oyster Bar sort oysters grown in Potters Pond


Join us on Wednesday, March 27, for a discussion on new research looking at how raised oysters and those on natural or artificial reefs may alter how nitrogen is naturally cycled through the environment, and may even help to soak up some of the excess nitrogen entering our coastal waters from fertilizers and sewage.

While nitrogen, which is found in fertilizer, is essential to plant growth, it can become too much of a good thing. When nitrogen from fertilizers or even sewage enters our waters, it can accelerate plant growth that can suffocate marine life and degrade the quality of our waters.

BU ecologist Robinson W. Fulweiler will discuss ongoing work in Narragansett Bay. Photo by Melody Komyerov.

Dr. Robinson Fulweiler, a research scientist from Boston University who specializes in nitrogen dynamics, and her team have been comparing how nitrogen is cycled through various oyster habitats and how different farms at different ages impact this cycle to better understand how oysters can potentially offset too much nitrogen in the environment.

“Over the last several years, we have measured [nitrogen] cycling through oyster habitats in Narragansett Bay and Ninigret Pond,” she says, explaining this includes oyster farms and natural and restored reefs.

Their initial findings show oyster farms may alter the way nitrogen is removed from the environment and may serve as a potential means for removing excess nitrogen. Fulweiler’s research also shows that when compared to other animal production, such as beef and poultry, raised oysters have less than one percent of the greenhouse gas cost.


When:  Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Time:    4:00–6:00 p.m.
Where: Coastal Institute Auditorium | URI Narragansett Bay Campus

Light refreshments will be served. RSVP requested.




The Coastal State Discussion Series is a forum dedicated to highlighting current scientific research, focused on marine issues impacting coastal communities and environments.

This series is sponsored by Rhode Island Sea Grant with the support of the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island, the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences, and the URI Graduate School of Oceanography.



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