Bivalve Farming May Purify Fouled Waters
Scientists are investigating whether mussels can be grown in urban areas as a way of cleansing coastal waters of sewage, fertilizers and other pollutants. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has placed an experimental raft at the mouth of New York City’s Bronx River with long tendrils seeded with geukensia demissa hanging beneath it.
The two-year experiment will test whether the ribbed mussel can survive in the industrial and organic effluent found there. If it does, that could have implications for cleaning up coastal waters all over the world. The idea of using bivalves like mussels, oysters and clams to purify waterways has been on the minds of conservationists and scientists for decades. If the creatures can absorb enough nitrogen from the polluted water, it will prevent algae blooms that deprive waterways of the oxygen needed to support life.
Other researchers also are investigating the beneficial effects of raising seaweed and kelp in conjunction with bivalves to clean coastal waters.