Maryland conservation non-profit The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has created time-lapse video of oysters filtering the waters of the east coast estuary. The bivalves play an important role in helping clean up the ecosystem, causing concern when their population dipped to as low as 4% of their normal levels.
Adult oysters are capable of pumping and straining up to two gallons of water in an hour. The simple act of eating makes them the bay’s most effective filtration system.
The power of the process is also starkly demonstrated in a side-by-side photo from Maryland Seafood, featuring two tanks of water taken from the Honga River.