An oyster bed at low tide. Notice the thousands of individual oysters encrusted on top of one another. Photo taken by JohnCub, from Wikimedia Commons.
The Chesapeake Bay is home to a wonderful variety of plants and animals. One of the invertebrates that makes a home here is the Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. This bivalve mollusk, which was once abundant in the Bay, has faced many hardships in the recent past. Over-harvesting, poor water quality from over nitrification and pollution, and in increase in sedimentation from runoff has caused populations to decline to less than 2% of their historical numbers. This is a problem for the oysters, and other denizens of the Bay.