Citizen Science ProjectSurvey Our Shores
  • Surveying San Francisco Bay's shore.

    Sureying the San Francisco Bay's shore.

  • Oyster drill hole in the top shell of an Olympia oyster.

    Oyster drill hole in the top shell of an Olympia oyster.

  • Oyster drill (Urosalpinx cinerea) on a bed of Ulva.

    Oyster drill (Urosalpinx cinerea) on a bed of Ulva.

Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida) are native to San Francisco Bay but their populations have been declining since the time of the Gold Rush (mid 1800's). Due to increased human activities, the oysters had to contend with over harvesting, invasive species, and pollution caused by gold mining.

Scientists from SERC and several other institutions have been working to restore Olympia oyster populations in San Francisco Bay for over a decade. At some sites, however, these efforts have been hampered by the intense predation by an invasive snail, the Atlantic oyster drill (Urosalpinx cinerea). These snails eat oysters, mussels, barnacles, and other hard-shelled organisms. While the oyster drill is an example of a negative impact of a non-native species on a native species, another native species, the brown rockweed (Fucus distichus) may benefit native oysters by forming a canopy that provides shade and retains humidity keeping the oysters cool and moist during low tide.

Research Topics