Oyster

Oyster is the common name for a number of different families of salt-water bivalve molluscs that live in marine or brackish habitats. In some species the valves are highly calcified, and many are somewhat irregular in shape. Many, but not all, oysters are in the superfamily Ostreoidea.

Some types of oysters are commonly consumed cooked or raw, and in some locales are regarded as a delicacy. Some types of pearl oysters are harvested for the pearl produced within the mantle. Windowpane oysters are harvested for their translucent shells, which are used to make various kinds of decorative objects.

Oysters
Pacific oyster from the Marennes-Oléron basin in France
Pacific oyster from the Marennes-Oléron basin in France
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Pteriomorphia
Groups included
Cladistically included but traditionally excluded taxa

All other members of:

Etymology

The word "oyster" comes from Old French oistre, and first appeared in English during the 14th century.[1] The French derived from the Latin ostrea, the feminine form of ostreum,[2] which is the latinisation of the Greek ὄστρεον (ostreon), "oyster".[3] Compare ὀστέον (osteon), "bone".[4]

Types

True oysters

True oysters are members of the family Ostreidae. This family includes the edible oysters, which mainly belong to the genera Ostrea, Crassostrea, Ostreola, Magallana, and Saccostrea. Examples include the Belon oyster, eastern oyster, Olympia oyster, Pacific oyster, and the Sydney rock oyster.

Pearl oysters

Pearl Oysters
Removing a pearl from a pearl oyster

Almost all shell-bearing mollusks can secrete pearls, yet most are not very valuable. Pearls can form in both saltwater and freshwater environments.

Pearl oysters are not closely related to true oysters, being members of a distinct family, the feathered oysters (Pteriidae). Both cultured pearls and natural pearls can be extracted from pearl oysters, though other molluscs, such as the freshwater mussels, also yield pearls of commercial value.

The largest pearl-bearing oyster is the marine Pinctada maxima, which is roughly the size of a dinner plate. Not all individual oysters produce pearls naturally. In fact, in a harvest of two and a half tons of oysters, only three to four oysters produce what commercial buyers consider to be absolute perfect pearls.

In nature, pearl oysters produce pearls by covering a minute invasive object with nacre.[5] Over the years, the irritating object is covered with enough layers of nacre to become a pearl. The many different types, colours and shapes of pearls depend on the natural pigment of the nacre, and the shape of the original irritant.

Pearl farmers can culture a pearl by placing a nucleus, usually a piece of polished mussel shell, inside the oyster. In three to seven years, the oyster can produce a perfect pearl. These pearls are not as valuable as natural pearls, but look exactly the same. In fact, since the beginning of the 20th century, when several researchers discovered how to produce artificial pearls, the cultured pearl market has far outgrown the natural pearl market.

Other types of oysters

A number of bivalve molluscs (other than true oysters and pearl oysters) also have common names that include the word "oyster", usually because they either taste like or look somewhat like true oysters, or because they yield noticeable pearls. Examples include:

Crassostrea gigas Marennes p1050142

Pacific oyster, opened

In the Philippines, a local thorny oyster species known as Tikod amo is a favorite seafood source in the southern part of the country.[6] Because of its good flavor, it commands high prices.

Anatomy

Oysters are filter feeders, drawing water in over their gills through the beating of cilia. Suspended plankton and particles are trapped in the mucus of a gill, and from there are transported to the mouth, where they are eaten, digested, and expelled as feces or pseudofeces. Oysters feed most actively at temperatures above 10 °C (50 °F). An oyster can filter up to 5 L (1.3 US gal) of water per hour. Chesapeake Bay's once-flourishing oyster population historically filtered excess nutrients from the estuary's entire water volume every three to four days. Today, it would take nearly a year.[7] Excess sediment, nutrients, and algae can result in the eutrophication of a body of water. Oyster filtration can mitigate these pollutants.

In addition to their gills, oysters can also exchange gases across their mantles, which are lined with many small, thin-walled blood vessels. A small, three-chambered heart, lying under the adductor muscle, pumps colorless blood to all parts of the body. At the same time, two kidneys, located on the underside of the muscle, remove waste products from the blood. Their nervous system includes two pairs of nerve cords and three pairs of ganglia.

While some oysters have two sexes (European oyster and Olympia oyster), their reproductive organs contain both eggs and sperm. Because of this, it is technically possible for an oyster to fertilize its own eggs. The gonads surround the digestive organs, and are made up of sex cells, branching tubules, and connective tissue.

Once the female is fertilized, she discharges millions of eggs into the water. The larvae develop in about six hours and exist suspended in the water column as veliger larvae for two to three weeks before settling on a bed and maturing to sexual adulthood within a year.

Habitat and behaviour

Oyster reef Hunting Island SC
Oyster reef at about mid-tide off fishing pier at Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina

A group of oysters is commonly called a bed or oyster reef.

Oyster Dalian
Rocks in intertidal zone covered by oysters, at Bangchuidao Scenic Area, Dalian, Liaoning Province, China

As a keystone species, oysters provide habitat for many marine species. Crassostrea and Saccostrea live mainly in the intertidal zone, while Ostrea is subtidal. The hard surfaces of oyster shells and the nooks between the shells provide places where a host of small animals can live. Hundreds of animals, such as sea anemones, barnacles, and hooked mussels, inhabit oyster reefs. Many of these animals are prey to larger animals, including fish, such as striped bass, black drum and croakers.

An oyster reef can increase the surface area of a flat bottom 50-fold. An oyster's mature shape often depends on the type of bottom to which it is originally attached, but it always orients itself with its outer, flared shell tilted upward. One valve is cupped and the other is flat.

Oysters usually reach maturity in one year. They are protandric; during their first year, they spawn as males by releasing sperm into the water. As they grow over the next two or three years and develop greater energy reserves, they spawn as females by releasing eggs. Bay oysters usually spawn from the end of June until mid-August. An increase in water temperature prompts a few oysters to spawn. This triggers spawning in the rest, clouding the water with millions of eggs and sperm. A single female oyster can produce up to 100 million eggs annually. The eggs become fertilized in the water and develop into larvae, which eventually find suitable sites, such as another oyster's shell, on which to settle. Attached oyster larvae are called spat. Spat are oysters less than 25 mm (1 in) long. Many species of bivalves, oysters included, seem to be stimulated to settle near adult conspecifics.

Electric oyster MolluSCAN eye project
Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas equipped with activity electrodes to follow their daily behaviour

Oysters are considered to filter large amounts of water to feed and breathe (exchange O2 and CO2 with water) but they are not permanently open. They regularly shut their valves to enter a resting state, even when they are permanently submersed. In fact their behaviour follows very strict circatidal and circadian rhythms according to the relative moon and sun positions. During neap tides, they exhibit much longer closing periods than during the spring tide.[8]

Some tropical oysters, such as the mangrove oyster in the family Ostreidae, grow best on mangrove roots. Low tide can expose them, making them easy to collect. In Trinidad in the West Indies, tourists are often astounded when they are told, in the Caribbean, "oysters grow on the trees here".

The largest oyster-producing body of water in the United States is Chesapeake Bay, although these beds have decreased in number due to overfishing and pollution. Willapa Bay in Washington produces more oysters than any other estuary in the US.[9] Other large oyster farming areas in the US include the bays and estuaries along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico from Apalachicola, Florida in the east to Galveston, Texas in the west. Large beds of edible oysters are also found in Japan and Australia. In 2005, China accounted for 80% of the global oyster harvest.[10] Within Europe, France remained the industry leader.

Common oyster predators include crabs, seabirds, starfish, and humans. Some oysters contain crabs, known as oyster crabs.

Nutrient cycling

Bivalves, including oysters, are effective filter feeders and can have large effects on the water columns in which they occur.[11] As filter feeders, oysters remove plankton and organic particles from the water column.[12] Multiple studies have shown individual oysters are capable of filtering up to 50 gallons of water per day, and thus oyster reefs can significantly improve water quality and clarity.[13][14][15][16] Oysters consume nitrogen-containing compounds (nitrates and ammonia), phosphates, plankton, detritus, bacteria, and dissolved organic matter, removing them from the water.[17] What is not used for animal growth is then expelled as solid waste pellets, which eventually decompose into the atmosphere as nitrogen.[5] In Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Program had implemented a plan to use oysters to reduce the amount of nitrogen compounds entering the Chesapeake Bay by 8,600 t (19,000,000 lb) per year by 2010.[18] Several studies have shown that oysters and mussels have the capacity to dramatically alter nitrogen levels in estuaries.[19][20][21] In the U.S., Delaware is the only East Coast state without aquaculture, but making aquaculture a state-controlled industry of leasing water by the acre for commercial harvesting of shellfish is being considered.[22] Supporters of Delaware's legislation to allow oyster aquaculture cite revenue, job creation, and nutrient cycling benefits. It is estimated that one acre can produce nearly 750,000 oysters, which could filter between 57,000 to 150,000 m3 (15,000,000 to 40,000,000 US gal) of water daily.[22] Also see nutrient pollution for an extended explanation of nutrient remediation.

Ecosystem services

As an ecosystem engineer oysters provide "supporting" ecosystem services, along with "provisioning", "regulating" and "cultural" services. Oysters influence nutrient cycling, water filtration, habitat structure, biodiversity, and food web dynamics.[23] Oyster feeding and nutrient cycling activities could "rebalance" shallow, coastal ecosystems if restoration of historic populations could be achieved.[24] Furthermore, assimilation of nitrogen and phosphorus into shellfish tissues provides an opportunity to remove these nutrients from the environment, but this benefit has only recently been recognized.[24][25][26] In California's Tomales Bay, native oyster presence is associated with higher species diversity of benthic invertebrates[27] but other ecosystem services have not been studied.[28] As the ecological and economic importance of oyster reefs has become more widely acknowledged, creation of oyster reef habitat through restoration efforts has become more important- often with the goal of restoring multiple ecosystem services associated with natural oyster reefs.[29]

Human history

Alexander Adriaenssen - Still-Life with Oysters - WGA0035
Still-Life with Oysters by Alexander Adriaenssen
Whaleback Shell Midden gully - 20070722 07986
The Whaleback Shell Midden in Maine contains the shells from oysters harvested for food dating from 2200 to 1000 years ago

Middens testify to the prehistoric importance of oysters as food, with some middens in New South Wales, Australia dated at ten thousand years.[30] They have been cultivated in Japan from at least 2000 BC.[30] In the United Kingdom, the town of Whitstable is noted for oyster farming from beds on the Kentish Flats that have been used since Roman times. The borough of Colchester holds an annual Oyster Feast each October, at which "Colchester Natives" (the native oyster, Ostrea edulis) are consumed. The United Kingdom hosts several other annual oyster festivals; for example, Woburn Oyster Festival is held in September. Many breweries produce oyster stout, a beer intended to be drunk with oysters that sometimes includes oysters in the brewing process.

The French seaside resort of Cancale in Brittany is noted for its oysters, which also date from Roman times. Sergius Orata of the Roman Republic is considered the first major merchant and cultivator of oysters. Using his considerable knowledge of hydraulics, he built a sophisticated cultivation system, including channels and locks, to control the tides. He was so famous for this, the Romans used to say he could breed oysters on the roof of his house.[31]

In the early 19th century, oysters were cheap and mainly eaten by the working class. Throughout the 19th century, oyster beds in New York Harbor became the largest source of oysters worldwide. On any day in the late 19th century, six million oysters could be found on barges tied up along the city's waterfront. They were naturally quite popular in New York City, and helped initiate the city's restaurant trade.[32] New York's oystermen became skilled cultivators of their beds, which provided employment for hundreds of workers and nutritious food for thousands. Eventually, rising demand exhausted many of the beds. To increase production, they introduced foreign species, which brought disease; effluent and increasing sedimentation from erosion destroyed most of the beds by the early 20th century. Oysters' popularity has put ever-increasing demands on wild oyster stocks.[33] This scarcity increased prices, converting them from their original role as working-class food to their current status as an expensive delicacy.

In the United Kingdom, the native variety (Ostrea edulis) requires five years to mature and is protected by an Act of Parliament during the May-to-August spawning season. The current market is dominated by the larger Pacific oyster and rock oyster varieties which are farmed year-round.

Fishing from the wild

Oysters are harvested by simply gathering them from their beds. In very shallow waters, they can be gathered by hand or with small rakes. In somewhat deeper water, long-handled rakes or oyster tongs are used to reach the beds. Patent tongs can be lowered on a line to reach beds that are too deep to reach directly. In all cases, the task is the same: the oysterman scrapes oysters into a pile, and then scoops them up with the rake or tongs.

In some areas, a scallop dredge is used. This is a toothed bar attached to a chain bag. The dredge is towed through an oyster bed by a boat, picking up the oysters in its path. While dredges collect oysters more quickly, they heavily damage the beds, and their use is highly restricted. Until 1965, Maryland limited dredging to sailboats, and even since then motor boats can be used only on certain days of the week. These regulations prompted the development of specialized sailboats (the bugeye and later the skipjack) for dredging.

Similar laws were enacted in Connecticut before World War I and lasted until 1969. The laws restricted the harvesting of oysters in state-owned beds to vessels under sail. These laws prompted the construction of the oyster sloop-style vessel to last well into the 20th century. Hope is believed to be the last-built Connecticut oyster sloop, completed in 1948.

Oysters can also be collected by divers.

In any case, when the oysters are collected, they are sorted to eliminate dead animals, bycatch (unwanted catch), and debris. Then they are taken to market, where they are either canned or sold live.

Cultivating oysters

Oyster culture in Belon, France 03
Oyster culture in Riec-sur-Belon, France

Oysters have been cultured since at least the days of the Roman Empire. The Pacific oyster (Magallana gigas) is presently the most widely grown bivalve around the world.[34] Two methods are commonly used, release and bagging. In both cases, oysters are cultivated onshore to the size of spat, when they can attach themselves to a substrate. They may be allowed to mature further to form "seed oysters". In either case, they are then placed in the water to mature. The release technique involves distributing the spat throughout existing oyster beds, allowing them to mature naturally to be collected like wild oysters. Bagging has the cultivator putting spat in racks or bags and keeping them above the bottom. Harvesting involves simply lifting the bags or rack to the surface and removing the mature oysters. The latter method prevents losses to some predators, but is more expensive.[35]

The Pacific oyster has been grown in the outflow of mariculture ponds. When fish or prawns are grown in ponds, it takes typically 10 kg (22 lb) of feed to produce 1 kg (2.2 lb) of product (dry-dry basis). The other 9 kg (20 lb) goes into the pond and after mineralization, provides food for phytoplankton, which in turn feeds the oyster.

To prevent spawning, sterile oysters are now cultured by crossbreeding tetraploid and diploid oysters. The resulting triploid oyster cannot propagate, which prevents introduced oysters from spreading into unwanted habitats.[36]

Restoration and recovery

In many areas, non-native oysters have been introduced in attempts to prop up failing harvests of native varieties. For example, the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) was introduced to California waters in 1875, while the Pacific oyster was introduced there in 1929.[37] Proposals for further such introductions remain controversial.

The Pacific oyster prospered in Pendrell Sound, where the surface water is typically warm enough for spawning in the summer. Over the following years, spat spread out sporadically and populated adjacent areas. Eventually, possibly following adaptation to the local conditions, the Pacific oyster spread up and down the coast and now is the basis of the North American west coast oyster industry. Pendrell Sound is now a reserve that supplies spat for cultivation.[38] Near the mouth of the Great Wicomico River in the Chesapeake Bay, five-year-old artificial reefs now harbor more than 180 million native Crassostrea virginica. That is far lower than in the late 1880s, when the bay's population was in the billions, and watermen harvested about 910,000 m3 (25,000,000 imp bsh) annually. The 2009 harvest was less than 7,300 m3 (200,000 imp bsh). Researchers claim the keys to the project were:

  • using waste oyster shells to elevate the reef floor 25–45 cm (9.8–17.7 in) to keep the spat free of bottom sediments
  • building larger reefs, ranging up to 8.1 ha (20 acres) in size
  • disease-resistant broodstock[39]

The "oyster-tecture" movement promotes the use of oyster reefs for water purification and wave attenuation. An oyster-tecture project has been implemented at Withers Estuary, Withers Swash, South Carolina, by Neil Chambers-led volunteers, at a site where pollution was affecting beach tourism.[40] Currently, for the installation cost of $3000, roughly 4.8 million liters of water are being filtered daily. In New Jersey, however, the Department of Environmental Protection refused to allow oysters as a filtering system in Sandy Hook Bay and the Raritan Bay, citing worries that commercial shellfish growers would be at risk and that members of the public might disregard warnings and consume tainted oysters. New Jersey Baykeepers responded by changing their strategy for utilizing oysters to clean up the waterway, by collaborating with Naval Weapons Station Earle. The Navy station is under 24/7 security and therefore eliminates any poaching and associated human health risk.[41] Oyster-tecture projects have been proposed to protect coastal cities, such as New York, from the threat of rising sea levels due to climate change.[42]

Human impact

The accidental or intentional introduction of species by humans has the potential to negatively impact native oyster populations. For example, non-native species in Tomales Bay have resulted in the loss of half of California's Olympia oysters.[43]

In October 2017, it was reported that underwater noise pollution can affect oysters as they close their shells when exposed to low frequencies of sounds in experimental conditions. Oysters rely on hearing waves and currents to regulate their circadian rhythms, and perception of weather events—such as rain—may induce spawning. Cargo ships, pile drivers, and explosions conducted underwater produce low frequencies that may be detected by oysters.[44]

As food

Chargrilled oysters
Chargrilled oysters
Oysters p1040741
Raw oysters presented on a plate
Osias Beert the Elder - Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and Wine - Google Art Project
Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and Wine, a 1620s painting by Osias Beert, now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.[45]

Jonathan Swift is quoted as having said, "He was a bold man that first ate an oyster".[46] Evidence of oyster consumption goes back into prehistory, evidenced by oyster middens found worldwide. Oysters were an important food source in all coastal areas where they could be found, and oyster fisheries were an important industry where they were plentiful. Overfishing and pressure from diseases and pollution have sharply reduced supplies, but they remain a popular treat celebrated in oyster festivals in many cities and towns.

It was once assumed that oysters were only safe to eat in months with the letter 'r' in their English and French names. This myth is based in truth, in that in the Northern Hemisphere, oysters are much more likely to spoil in the warmer months of May, June, July, and August.[47] In recent years, pathogens such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus have caused outbreaks in several harvesting areas of the eastern United States during the summer months, lending further credence to this belief.

Consumption of oyster is forbidden by Jewish and Islamic dietary law.

Depuration

Depuration of oysters is a common industry practice and widely researched in the scientific community but is not commonly known by end consumers. The main objective of seafood depuration is to remove fecal contamination in seafood before being sold to end consumers. Oyster depuration is useful since they are generally eaten raw and in many countries, the requirement to process is government-regulated or mandatory. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) formally recognizes depuration and has published detailed documents on the process,[48] whereas the Codex Alimentarius, encourages the application of seafood depuration.[49]

Oyster depuration begins after the harvest of oysters from farmed locations. The oysters are transported and placed into tanks pumped with clean water for periods of 48 to 72 hours. The holding temperatures and salinity vary according to species. The seawater that the oysters were originally farmed in does not remain in the oyster, since the water used for depuration must be fully sterilized, plus the depuration facility would not necessarily be located near the farming location.[50] Depuration of oysters can remove moderate levels of contamination of most bacterial indicators and pathogens. Well-known contaminants include Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a temperature-sensitive bacterium found in seawater animals, and Escherichia coli, a bacterium found in coastal waters near highly populated cities having sewage systems discharging waste nearby, or in the presence of agricultural discharges.[51] Depuration expands beyond oysters into many shellfish and other related products, especially in seafood that is known to come from potentially polluted areas; depurated seafood is effectively a product cleansed from inside-out to make it safe for human consumption.

Nutrition

Oysters are an excellent source of zinc, iron, calcium, and selenium, as well as vitamin A and vitamin B12. Oysters are low in food energy; one dozen raw oysters contains 110 kilocalories (460 kJ).[52] They are rich in protein (approximately 9 g in 100 g of Pacific oysters).[53]

Traditionally, oysters are considered to be an aphrodisiac, partially because they resemble female sex organs.[54] A team of American and Italian researchers analyzed bivalves and found they were rich in amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones.[55] Their high zinc content aids the production of testosterone.[32]

Dietary supplements may contain calcium carbonate from oyster shells, though no evidence shows this offers any benefits beyond what calcium may offer.

Selection, preparation and storage

Unlike most shellfish, oysters can have a fairly long shelf life of up to four weeks. However, their taste becomes less pleasant as they age. Oysters should be refrigerated out of water, not frozen, and in 100% humidity. Oysters stored in water under refrigeration will open, consume available oxygen, and die.

Fresh Oysters
Freshly opened pearl oysters
European Flat Oyster
Freshly shucked European flat oyster

Traditionally, oysters that do not open have been assumed to be dead before cooking and therefore unsafe.[56] However, according to at least one marine biologist, Nick Ruello, this advice may have arisen from an old, poorly researched cookbook's advice regarding mussels, which has now become an assumed truism for all shellfish. Ruello found 11.5% of all mussels failed to open during cooking, but when forced open, 100% were "both adequately cooked and safe to eat."[57]

Ostra gigante em Angola
Giant oyster in southern Angola
FriedOyster
Fried oyster with egg and flour is a common dish in Malaysia[58] and Singapore.

Oysters can be eaten on the half shell, raw, smoked, boiled, baked, fried, roasted, stewed, canned, pickled, steamed, or broiled, or used in a variety of drinks. Eating can be as simple as opening the shell and eating the contents, including juice. Butter and salt are often added. In the case of Oysters Rockefeller, preparation can be very elaborate. They are sometimes served on edible seaweed, such as brown algae.

Care should be taken when consuming oysters. Purists insist on eating them raw, with no dressing save perhaps lemon juice, vinegar (most commonly shallot vinegar), or cocktail sauce. Upscale restaurants pair raw oysters with mignonette sauce, which consists primarily of fresh chopped shallot, mixed peppercorn, dry white wine and lemon juice or sherry vinegar. Like fine wine, raw oysters have complex flavors that vary greatly among varieties and regions: salty, briny, buttery, metallic, or even fruity. The texture is soft and fleshy, but crisp on the palate. North American varieties include Kumamoto and Yaquina Bay from Oregon, Duxbury and Wellfleet from Massachusetts, Malpeque from Prince Edward Island, Canada, Blue Point from Long Island, New York, Pemaquid from Maine, Rappahannock River from Virginia, Chesapeake from Maryland and Cape May oysters from New Jersey. Variations in water salinity, alkalinity, and mineral and nutritional content influence their flavor profile.

Oysters can contain harmful bacteria. Oysters are filter feeders, so will naturally concentrate anything present in the surrounding water. Oysters from the Gulf Coast of the United States, for example, contain high bacterial loads of human pathogens in the warm months, most notably Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. In these cases, the main danger is for immunocompromised individuals, who are unable to fight off infection and can succumb to sepsis, leading to death. Vibrio vulnificus is the most deadly seafood-borne pathogen.[59]

Opening oysters

Couteau à huitre - coté
Special knives for opening live oysters, such as this one, have short and stout blades.

Fresh oysters must be alive just before consumption or cooking.[60] There is only one criterion: the oyster must be capable of tightly closing its shell. Open oysters should be tapped on the shell; a live oyster will close up and is safe to eat. Oysters which are open and unresponsive are dead and must be discarded. Some dead oysters, or oyster shells which are full of sand, may be closed. These make a distinctive noise when tapped, and are known as "clackers".

Opening oysters, referred to as "oyster-shucking", requires skill. The preferred method is to use a special knife (called an oyster knife, a variant of a shucking knife), with a short and thick blade about 5 cm (2.0 in) long.

While different methods are used to open an oyster (which sometimes depend on the type), the following is one commonly accepted oyster-shucking method.

  • Insert the blade, with moderate force and vibration if necessary, at the hinge between the two valves.
  • Twist the blade until there is a slight pop.
  • Slide the blade upward to cut the adductor muscle which holds the shell closed.

Inexperienced shuckers can apply too much force, which can result in injury if the blade slips. Heavy gloves, sometimes sold as oyster gloves, are recommended; apart from the knife, the shell itself can be razor-sharp. Professional shuckers require fewer than three seconds to open the shell.[32]

If the oyster has a particularly soft shell, the knife can be inserted instead in the "sidedoor", about halfway along one side where the oyster lips widen with a slight indentation.

Opening or "shucking" oysters has become a competitive sport. Oyster-shucking competitions are staged around the world. The Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship is held in September at the Galway Oyster Festival. The annual Clarenbridge Oyster Festival "Oyster Opening Competition" is also held in Galway, Ireland.

Diseases

Oysters are subject to various diseases which can reduce harvests and severely deplete local populations. Disease control focuses on containing infections and breeding resistant strains, and is the subject of much ongoing research.

  • "Dermo" is caused by a protozoan parasite (Perkinsus marinus). It is a prevalent pathogen, causes massive mortality, and poses a significant economic threat to the oyster industry. The disease is not a direct threat to humans consuming infected oysters.[61] Dermo first appeared in the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s, and until 1978 was believed to be caused by a fungus. While it is most serious in warmer waters, it has gradually spread up the east coast of the United States.[62]
  • Multinucleated sphere X (MSX) is caused by the protozoan Haplosporidium nelsoni, generally seen as a multinucleated Plasmodium. It is infectious and causes heavy mortality in the eastern oyster; survivors, however, develop resistance and can help propagate resistant populations. MSX is associated with high salinity and water temperatures.[61] MSX was first noted in Delaware Bay in 1957, and is now found all up and down the East Coast of the United States. Evidence suggests it was brought to the US when Crassostrea gigas, a Japanese oyster variety, was introduced to Delaware Bay.[62]

Some oysters also harbor bacterial species which can cause human disease; of importance is Vibrio vulnificus, which causes gastroenteritis, which is usually self-limiting, and cellulitis. Cellulitis can be severe and rapidly spreading, requiring antibiotics, medical care, and in some severe cases amputation. It is usually acquired when the contents of the oyster come in contact with a cut skin lesion, as when shucking an oyster.

See also

References

  1. ^ Oysters in Cynee, Recipe for Oysters in Bread Sauce (Oysters in Cynee) from the 1390 English text, The Forme of Cury, from Celtnet Recipes
  2. ^ ostrea, ostreum, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
  3. ^ ὄστρεον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  4. ^ ὀστέον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  5. ^ a b "A dozen ocean-cleaners and a pint of Guinness, please". The Economist. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  6. ^ "Native oyster species in Surigao del Sur draws attention for R&D | eVolved". eVolved. 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  7. ^ "Oyster Reefs: Ecological importance" (PDF). US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
  8. ^ Tran, D., Nadau, A., Durrieu, G., Ciret, P., Parisot, JP., Massabuau, JC. 2011. Field chronobiology of a Molluscan bivalve: how the moon and sun cycles interact to drive oyster activity rhythms. Chronobiology International, Vol. 28, Num. 4: 307-317.
  9. ^ Ruesink Lab – About the Bay
  10. ^ "China harvests almost 4 m tonnes of oyster in 2005".
  11. ^ Padilla, D.K. 2010. Context-dependent Impacts of a Non-native Ecosystem Engineer, the Pacific Oyster Crassostrea gigas. Integrative and Comparative Biology, Vol. 50, Num. 2: 213–225.
  12. ^ Jud and Layman. 2011. Loxahatchee River oyster reef restoration monitoring report: Using baselines derived from long-term monitoring of benthic community structure on natural oyster reefs to assess the outcome of large-scale oyster reef restoration. Prepared for Martin County, state of Florida.
  13. ^ Jonas, R.B., 1997. Bacteria, dissolved organics and oxygens consumption in salinity stratified Chesapeake Bay, an anoxia paradigm. Am. Zool. 37, 612-620.
  14. ^ Officer, C.B., Smayda, T.J. and Mann, R., 1982. "Benthic Filter Feeding – a Natural Eutrophication Control." Marine Ecology Progress Series 9, 203–210.
  15. ^ Ulanowicz, R.E. and Tuttle, J.H., 1992. The Trophic Consequences of Oyster Stock Rehabilitation in Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries 15, 298-306.
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External links

(Don't Fear) The Reaper

"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is a song by American rock band Blue Öyster Cult from the band's 1976 album Agents of Fortune. The song, written and sung by lead guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, deals with eternal love and the inevitability of death. Dharma wrote the song while picturing an early death for himself.

Released as an edited single (omitting the slow building interlude in the original), the song was Blue Öyster Cult's highest chart success, reaching #7 in Cash Box and #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1976. Critical reception was mainly positive, and in 2004, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was listed at number 405 on Rolling Stone's list of the top 500 songs of all time.

Blue Öyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult (often abbreviated BÖC or BOC) is an American rock band formed on Long Island, New York in 1967, perhaps best known for the singles "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Burnin' for You", "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll", and "Godzilla." Blue Öyster Cult has sold more than 24 million records worldwide, including 7 million in the United States alone. The band's music videos, especially "Burnin' for You," received heavy rotation on MTV when the music television network premiered in 1981, cementing the band's contribution to the development and success of the music video in modern popular culture.

Blue Öyster Cult's longest-lasting and most commercially successful lineup included Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser (lead guitar, vocals), Eric Bloom (lead vocals, "stun guitar", keyboards, synthesizers), Allen Lanier (keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Joe Bouchard (bass, vocals), Albert Bouchard (drums, percussion, vocals). The band's current lineup includes Roeser and Bloom, as well as Danny Miranda (bass, backing vocals), Jules Radino (drums, percussion) and Richie Castellano (keyboard, rhythm guitar, backing vocals).

Mary Mallon

Mary Mallon (September 23, 1869 – November 11, 1938), also known as Typhoid Mary, was an Irish cook. She was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever. She was presumed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died, over the course of her career as a cook. She was twice forcibly isolated by public health authorities and died after a total of nearly three decades in isolation.

Massapequa, New York

Massapequa (, mass-ə-PEEK-wə) is a hamlet and census-designated place (CDP) in the southern part of the Town of Oyster Bay in southeastern Nassau County, New York, on Long Island, east of New York City. It is adjacent to Amityville in Suffolk County. As of the 2010 census, the CDP had a total population of 21,685. Greater Massapequa, including North Massapequa, East Massapequa, and Massapequa Park, has a population of over 75,000. It is serviced by the Massapequa Station on the Long Island Rail Road.

More Cowbell

"More Cowbell" is a comedy sketch that aired on Saturday Night Live on April 8, 2000. The sketch is presented as an episode of VH1's documentary series Behind the Music that fictionalizes the recording of the song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult. The sketch featured guest host Christopher Walken as music producer "The Bruce Dickinson", and regular cast member Will Ferrell, who wrote the sketch with playwright Donnell Campbell, as fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle, whose overzealous playing annoys his bandmates but pleases producer Dickinson. The sketch also starred Chris Parnell as Eric Bloom, Jimmy Fallon as Albert Bouchard, Chris Kattan as Buck Dharma and Horatio Sanz as Joe Bouchard.

The sketch is often considered one of the greatest SNL sketches ever made, and in many "best of" lists regarding SNL sketches, it is often placed in the top ten, being ranked number nine by Rolling Stone. As a result of its popularity, "more cowbell" became an American pop culture catchphrase.

Oyster Bay (hamlet), New York

Oyster Bay is a hamlet and census-designated place (CDP) on the North Shore of Long Island in Nassau County in the state of New York, United States. The hamlet is also the site of a station on the Oyster Bay Branch of the Long Island Rail Road and the eastern termination point of that branch of the railroad.

The community is within the Town of Oyster Bay, New York, a town which contains 18 villages and 18 hamlets.

The hamlet's area was considerably larger before several of its parts incorporated as separate villages. At least six of the 36 villages and hamlets of the Town of Oyster Bay have shores on Oyster Bay Harbor and its inlets, and many of these were previously considered part of the hamlet of Oyster Bay; three of those are now known as Mill Neck, Bayville & Centre Island. The Oyster Bay Post Office (ZIP code 11771) serves several of the surrounding areas also, including the villages Oyster Bay Cove, Laurel Hollow, Cove Neck, and Upper Brookville.

The Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District was created on July 1, 1960, by the action of the voters in the former Oyster Bay and East Norwich School Districts. The district's 13.1 square miles (34 km2) boundaries include the hamlets of Oyster Bay and East Norwich and the incorporated villages of Centre Island, Oyster Bay Cove, Cove Neck, and portions of Mill Neck, Muttontown, Laurel Hollow, and Upper Brookville. There are three schools currently in the district: Roosevelt Elementary School (Grades K-2), James H. Vernon Middle School (Grades 3-6), and Oyster Bay High School (Grades 7-12).

The population of the CDP of Oyster Bay as of the 2010 Census was at 6,707.

Oyster Bay (town), New York

The Town of Oyster Bay is the easternmost of the three towns which make up Nassau County, New York, in the United States. Part of the New York metropolitan area, it is the only town in Nassau County to extend from the North Shore to the South Shore of Long Island. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 293,214.

There are 18 villages and 18 hamlets within the town of Oyster Bay. The U.S. Postal Service has organized these 36 places into 30 five-digit ZIP Codes served by 20 post offices. Each post office shares the name of one of the hamlets or villages, but their boundaries are usually not coterminous.

Oyster Bay is also the name of a hamlet on the north shore, within the town of Oyster Bay. Near this hamlet, in the village of Cove Neck, is Sagamore Hill, the former residence and summer White House of Theodore Roosevelt and now a museum. At least six of the 36 villages and hamlets of the town have shores on Oyster Bay Harbor, an inlet of Long Island Sound, and many of these at one time or another have also been referred to as being part of the hamlet of Oyster Bay.

Oyster card

The Oyster card is a payment method for public transport in London (and certain areas around it) in the United Kingdom. A standard Oyster card is a blue credit-card-sized stored-value contactless smartcard. It is promoted by Transport for London and can be used on travel modes across London including London Underground, London Buses, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Overground, Tramlink, some river boat services, and most National Rail services within the London fare zones. Since its introduction in June 2003, more than 86 million cards have been used.Oyster cards can hold period tickets; travel permits and; most commonly, credit for travel ("Pay as you go"), which must be added to the card before travel. Passengers touch it on an electronic reader when entering and leaving the transport system in order to validate it or deduct funds from the stored credit. Cards may be "topped-up" by recurring payment authority, by online purchase, at credit card terminals or by cash, the last two methods at stations or ticket offices. The card is designed to reduce the number of transactions at ticket offices and the number of paper tickets. Usage is encouraged by offering substantially cheaper fares than with cash though the acceptance of cash is being phased out. On London buses, cash is no longer accepted.

The card was first issued to the public on 30 June 2003, with a limited range of features and there continues to be a phased introduction of further functions. By June 2012, over 43 million Oyster cards had been issued and more than 80% of all journeys on public transport in London were made using the card.Since 2014, the use of Oyster cards has been supplemented by contactless credit and debit cards as part of TfL's "Future Ticketing Programme". TfL was the first public transport provider in the world to accept payment by contactless bank cards, and the widespread adoption of contactless in London has been credited to this. TfL is now one of Europe's largest contactless merchants, with around 1 in 10 contactless transactions in the UK taking place on the TfL network.

Oyster farming

Oyster farming is an aquaculture (or mariculture) practice in which oysters are bred and raised mainly for their pearls, shells and inner organ tissue, which is eaten. Oyster farming was practiced by the ancient Romans as early as the 1st century BC on the Italian peninsula and later in Britain for export to Rome. The French oyster industry has relied on aquacultured oysters since the late 18th century.

Oyster omelette

The oyster omelette (Chinese: 蚵仔煎; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ô-á-chian) is a dish of Teochew origin that is widely known for its savoury taste in its native Chaoshan along with Fujian, Taiwan, and many parts of Southeast Asia such as the Philippines and Thailand due to the influence of the Teochew diaspora. Variations of the dish preside in some southern regions of China.

In Thailand it was adapted to mussel omelettes; most Thai people have the misconception that oyster omelettes and mussel omelettes originated from Thai cuisine rather than Chinese. In Bangkok, notable areas for oyster omelettes include Talat Wang Lang near Siriraj Hospital; Wang Lang (Siriraj) Pier in Bangkok Noi where there are two restaurants; Yaowarat neighborhood, where there is one Michelin-Bib Gourmand restaurant with Charoen Krung neighborhood in Bang Rak, among others. In 2017, the World Street Food Congress announced that oyster omelette is one of the three most notable street food among the street foods of Thailand.The oyster omelette is a Taiwanese "night market favorite", and has constantly been ranked by many foreigners as the top dish from Taiwan. Its generous proportions and affordable price demonstrates the trait of night market cuisines.

Oyster sauce

Oyster sauce describes a number of sauces made by cooking oysters. The most common in modern use is a viscous dark brown condiment made from oyster extracts, sugar, salt and water thickened with corn starch. Some versions may be darkened with caramel, though high-quality oyster sauce is naturally dark. It is commonly used in Cantonese, Thai, Malay, Vietnamese and Khmer cuisine.

Oystercatcher

The oystercatchers are a group of waders forming the family Haematopodidae, which has a single genus, Haematopus. They are found on coasts worldwide apart from the polar regions and some tropical regions of Africa and South East Asia. The exception to this is the Eurasian oystercatcher and the South Island oystercatcher, both of which breed inland, far inland in some cases. In the past there has been a great deal of confusion as to the species limits, with discrete populations of all black oystercatchers being afforded specific status but pied oystercatchers being considered one single species.The name oystercatcher was coined by Mark Catesby in 1731 as a common name for the North American species H. palliatus, described as eating oysters. Yarrell in 1843 established this as the preferred term, replacing the older name sea pie or sea-pie. The genus name Haematopus comes from the Greek haima αἳμα blood, pous πούς foot.

Pinctada maxima

Pinctada maxima is a species of pearl oyster, a marine bivalve mollusk in the family Pteriidae, the pearl oysters. There are two different color varieties: the White-lipped oyster and the Gold-lipped oyster. These bivalves are the largest pearl oysters in the world. They have a very strong inner shell layer composed of nacre, also known as "mother of pearl" and are important to the cultured pearl industry as they are cultivated to produce South Sea pearls.

The South Sea pearl or Philippine pearl was declared by Philippine President Fidel Ramos as the national gem in 1996 through Proclamation No. 905. The oyster and pearl are depicted on the reverse side of the Philippine New Generation Currency Series 1,000-peso bill.

Pleurotus ostreatus

Pleurotus ostreatus, the pearl oyster mushroom or tree oyster mushroom, is a common edible mushroom. It was first cultivated in Germany as a subsistence measure during World War I and is now grown commercially around the world for food. It is related to the similarly cultivated king oyster mushroom. Oyster mushrooms can also be used industrially for mycoremediation purposes.

The oyster mushroom is one of the more commonly sought wild mushrooms, though it can also be cultivated on straw and other media. It has the bittersweet aroma of benzaldehyde (which is also characteristic of bitter almonds).

Rocky Mountain oysters

Rocky Mountain oysters, or meat balls, also known as prairie oysters in Canada (French: animelles), is a dish made of bull testicles. The organs are often deep-fried after being skinned, coated in flour, pepper and salt, and sometimes pounded flat. This delicacy is most often served as an appetizer.The dish is served in parts of Canada, where cattle ranching is prevalent and castration of young male animals is common. "Prairie oysters" is the preferred name in Canada where they are served in a demi-glace. In Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, they are often called calf fries. In Spain, Argentina and many parts of Mexico they are referred to as "criadillas", and they are colloquially referred to as huevos de toro (literally, "bull’s eggs"; besides its literal meaning, huevos is a Spanish slang term for testicles) in Central and South America. Rocky Mountain oysters are sometimes confused with cattle fries or animelles (cattle testicles), which are served in a similar manner. A few other terms, such as "cowboy caviar", "Montana tendergroins", "dusted nuts", "swinging beef", or simply “mountain oysters” may be used.The dish, purportedly cowboy fare, is most commonly found served at festivals, amongst ranching families, or at certain specialty eating establishments and bars. They are, however, also readily available at some public venues (e.g., at Coors Field during Colorado Rockies baseball games). Eagle, Idaho, claims to have the "World's Largest Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed" during its Eagle Fun Days (now held the second weekend in July). Clinton, Montana, Deerfield, Michigan, Huntley, Illinois, Olean, Missouri, Severance, Colorado, and Tiro, Ohio also hold testicle festivals. Rocky Mountain oysters are sometimes served as a prank to those unaware of the origin of these "oysters". They are also considered to be an aphrodisiac by many people.The primary goal of testicle removal is not culinary. Castration in veterinary practice and animal husbandry is common and serves a variety of purposes, including the control of breeding, the growth of skeletal muscle suitable for beef, and temperament alteration.

Rolex

Rolex SA () is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer based in Geneva, Switzerland. Originally founded as Wilsdorf and Davis by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London, England in 1905, the company registered Rolex as the brand name of its watches in 1908 and became Rolex Watch Co. Ltd. in 1915. After World War I, the company moved its base of operations to Geneva, Switzerland in order to avoid heavy taxation from a recovering post-war Britain, and in 1920 Hans Wilsdorf registered Montres Rolex SA in Geneva as the new company name which eventually became Rolex SA in later years. Since 1960, the company has been owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a private family trust.Rolex SA and its subsidiary Montres Tudor SA design, manufacture, distribute and service wristwatches sold under the Rolex and Tudor brands. In 2018, Forbes ranked Rolex as the world's 71st most valuable brand. As of June 2019, among the world's top ten most expensive watches ever sold at auctions, three are Rolex watches. In particular, Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona currently holds the title of the most expensive wristwatch and the second most expensive watch ever sold at auction, fetching 17.75 million US dollars in New York on October 26, 2017.

Sandy Pearlman

Samuel Clarke "Sandy" Pearlman (August 5, 1943 – July 26, 2016) was an American music producer, artist manager, music journalist and critic, professor, poet, songwriter, and record company executive. He was best known for founding, writing for, producing, or co-producing many LPs by Blue Öyster Cult, as well as producing important albums by The Clash, The Dictators, Pavlov's Dog, Space Team Electra, and Dream Syndicate; he was also the founding Vice President of eMusic.com. He was the Schulich Distinguished Professor Chair at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, and from August 2014 held a Marshall McLuhan Centenary Fellowship at the Coach House Institute (CHI) of the University of Toronto Faculty of Information as part of the CHI's McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology.

Spondylus

Spondylus is a genus of bivalve molluscs, the only genus in the family Spondylidae. They are known in English as spiny oysters (though they are not, in fact, true oysters).

Stout

Stout is a dark, top-fermented beer with a number of variations, including dry stout, Baltic porter, milk stout, and imperial stout.

The first known use of the word stout for beer was in a document dated 1677 found in the Egerton Manuscripts, the sense being that a "stout beer" was a strong beer, not a dark beer. The name porter was first used in 1721 to describe a dark brown beer that had been made with roasted malts. Because of the huge popularity of porters, brewers made them in a variety of strengths. The stronger beers, typically 7% or 8% alcohol by volume (ABV), were called "stout porters", so the history and development of stout and porter are intertwined, and the term stout has become firmly associated with dark beer, rather than just strong beer.

Oysters
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Commercial mollusks
Marine gastropods
Land and freshwater gastropods
Free-swimming marine bivalves
Infaunal bivalves
Sessile bivalves
Freshwater bivalves
Cephalopods
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Principal commercial fishery species groups
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