Oysters have been consumed as food and their shells as coins or ornaments around the world for thousands of years. In recent decades, oyster shells help producing concrete by supplementing or replacing cement. When oysters aggregate together they form oyster reef which provides numbers of ecosystem services such as filtering seawater, while they feed and increase habitat complexity.
Oyster farming in Hong Kong could be traced back at least 700 years. In the early 19th century, there were 11 lime kilns, refining oyster, bivalve shells, corals into lime. How much potential services did we lose by removing oyster shells from the sea? Is it worth or is it practical to restore oyster reef by building artificial ones?
My current research, which is a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, focuses on whether artificial oyster habitats help enhancing biodiversity such as birds, crabs, polychaetas, fishes, amphipods, etc. At the same time, I will study if is there any relationships between oyster habitat and horseshoe crab foraging grounds.