What the rise and fall of oysters tells us about Ohlone culture, the Gold Rush era, public health, and industrialization.
Recorded as a live podcast in collaboration with East Bay Yesterday, Liam O'Donoghue interviews Casey Harper, deputy director of Wild Oyster Project. Oysters may seem like a simple creature at first glance – they can’t even move on their own – but their presence can determine the health of an entire ecosystem. Just like tree rings hold clues to Earth’s history, oyster shells can reveal much about past millennia. Although local oyster populations were nearly wiped out following decades of pollution and habitat destruction, a few survivors were discovered in recent years, leading to a surge in restoration efforts. Despite challenges ranging from invasive predators to ocean acidification, groups like Wild Oyster Project are hopeful that these projects will grow to provide shelter for marine life, filter pollutants out of the water, and eventually mitigate sea level rise more effectively than concrete barriers.