A live oyster reef
"Before" Oyster castle with no oyster growth
"After" Colonized oyster castle
Striped blennies Chasmodes bosquianus are among
the fishes living inside the oyster reef,
along with feather blennies Hypsoblennius hentz.
Naked gobies Gobiosoma bosci live in the nooks
and crannies of the reef.
Striped burrfish Chilomycerus schoepfi zoom about,
picking at invertebrates in the oyster reef.
Grey snapper Lutjanus griseus are effective predators of
smaller fishes and inverts.
Oyster toadfish Opsanus tau are a stealthy ambush predator
that often bury in substrate beneath the reef.
Like the oyster toadfish, mantis shrimp Squilla empusa will hide in tunnels
they've dug around the rock, and ambush any prey that come along.
Hermit crabs (long clawed on top, striped below) are
very common scavengers in oyster rocks.
A common spider crab (Libinia emarginata) decorates
himself with pieces of a beard sponge to blend into its environment.
By displaying the tangible results of the restoration work, and the richness of the species that rely on them - not to mention the commercial worth of the oysters to humans - we are displaying what is at stake besides the fate of the oysters themselves: the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Once known for its natural riches, it is increasingly known for being a system badly out of balance; a system in which the American oyster once lay at the very heart.