How the Mass Extinction or Death of Oysters in Ocean Waters Affects the Food Chain

The death of oysters in the ocean affects the food chain because oysters are on the lower end of the food chain. This means that anything they eat also gets eaten. So, if something makes the oysters sick, then the animal that eats them will get sick also. Oysters are a control species.

Food chains

An example of a food chain is parasite, insect, bivalve, fish, man. This is what the food chain for oysters looks like. In addition, the grasses and underwater environment play a large part in how the oysters survive. Each part of the food chain must survive, or those at the top of the chain will suffer. Often, when one part is amiss, serious problems occur in nature. Without the oysters, the water becomes dirtier, and the grasses do not get enough oxygen to live. Insects increase, along with parasites that the oyster would have consumed.


 Before the pilgrims and colonists arrived, oysters covered the harbors and the shores of the Hudson River. Man has removed the shelves along the seashore in the east, causing floodwaters to infiltrate the cities.This opens the door for increased hurricane damage because the beds could work as a reef to reduce the tide.

Benefits of oysters

Oysters filter out the harbor water and clean it.  Oysters can easily filter over fifty gallons of water a day. This makes the marsh grasses grow, which in turn provides shelter for fish and other aquatic creatures. Oysters provide a wonderful taste for those of the human race that like them. They also make pearls.


Mining and burning the oyster beds has taken its toll on the oysters, so where they once flourished, their numbers became nonexistent. People dumped lime into the water, killing the bivalves. Sewer systems, along with industries, dumped wastes  and diseased waters into the harbor, including PCBs and metals. By 1930, the oysters disappeared.


Since the passing of the Clean Water Act in the 1970s, the oysters have since returned. The water in the harbor has become clearer and increased the oxygen level in it. Shorelines have caves and rocks where the oysters live.  A number of organizations have made an effort to protect the oysters, including the Army Corps of Engineers, Harbor School, Hudson River Foundation and the New Jersey Bay Keeper.  

Mass extinction will cause damage to the water, less protection to the shoreline, a decrease of aquatic grasses and creatures. Research shows that oysters contribute much more than humans once thought. Loss of this species will mean loss of many other things.