Students install oyster reef to combat brown tide in Shinnecock Bay

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SOUTHAMPTON -

Marine science students from Stony Brook University installed an Oyster Reef in Shinnecock Bay Thursday in an effort to combat deadly algae blooms caused by nitrogen overload in the water.

Dr. Chris Gobler and his team with the Shinnecock Restoration Project say the oyster reef is part of the solution. 

"An adult oyster can filter nearly 200 liters of water in a day," says Dr. Gobler. 

More Coverage: What's in the Water Series |  Extended Interviews | Numbers & Links

The reef features a bag full of hard shell clams that are covered with juvenile oysters.

"Ultimately, what we want to have is the whole bag full of live oysters filtering the water and producing new oysters to re-populate the bay," says Dr. Gobler. 

Back in the early 1900s, Long Island shores were surrounded by hundreds of miles of oyster reefs, but pollution and overfishing took its toll. The reefs that once protected the shorelines, created a marine habitat, and filtered the bays and estuaries disappeared.

"The old oyster reefs that used to populate Long Island are no longer, so we are here to see if we can bring those back," says Dr. Gobler. 

The reef installed Thursday is the first of four reefs that the state Department of Environmental Conservation gave permission for Stony Brook University to install. The next one will be installed next fall. 

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