A hidden, high-stakes drama is unfolding beneath the surface of the Hudson River. The city’s fragile oyster population is coming out of hibernation. Concealed beneath a thick sheet of ice in winter, they clasped shut and went dormant… Now, ensconced in metal cages that naturalists are using to restore the city’s once-rich oyster beds, they are yawning back open- those that survived, that is… "We have to get out and start pulling up the cages and see how many are living," says Beth Ravit, an environmental scientist at Rutgers University… Scientists like Dr. Ravit looking to the oysters for their ability to filter out pollutants and possibly to help prevent flooding. But oysters are sensitive. And microscopic morsels like phytoplankton, which oysters find tasty, die off in dark winter waters. That left oysters starved during the colder months, victims of the seasons’ ruthless cycle… "It’s all about who eats who," Dr. Ravit said… Dr. Ravit and her collaborators from NY/NJ Baykeeper started with 250,000 oysters in Raritan Bay. In the coming weeks, they will find out how many remain.
/ / / New York Today: Spring, Undersea