Bay Basics


UMCES’ role in revitalizing an iconic Chesapeake Bay species

Oysters are an important component of the living ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. These tiny creatures have a big impact both on ecology and economics.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has been dedicated to protecting the species and helping it thrive in the Bay. Not only do we have scientists who are experts in every aspect of oysters from their biology to their role in our Bay’s ecosystem, but our Horn Point Laboratory is home to one of the largest oyster cultivation facilities on the East Coast. At the Broddus and Margaret Ann Jones Oyster Culture Facility, our team uses constantly evolving techniques to produce a variety of oyster larvae for use in research, restoration, and educational projects.

Past, Present, Future

Through our oyster culture and research activities, our scientists are working to bring restore the once abundant the oyster populations. What happened to oysters in the Bay, what progress have we made, and where do we go from here? Find those answers and more:

  • LOOKING BACK: Learn the history of oysters in Chesapeake Bay and how time changed populations of this iconic species.
  • MORE THAN A MEAL: Understand the environmental benefits of oysters.
  • RAISING OYSTERS: Look behind the scenes of our oyster culture facility and learn how our scientists produce spat on shell.
  • STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Learn about the partnership that makes oyster restoration possible.
  • RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS: Get to know our oyster experts and how their work shapes the Bay and its oysters.

Oysters are the iconic species of the Bay. They’re so important as nature’s engineers--building reefs, creating biodiversity, creating habitat--and they have a tremendous ecological impact on the Bay.

Mike Roman
Director, Horn Point Laboratory