Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Oysters in the Classroom

oysters in aquarium

The Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica)  is an iconic species in the Chesapeake Bay, an integral part of the history of the Bay and of Maryland.

You can learn more about this fascinating mollusk through these interactive lessons that together make up Oysters in the Classroom:

  • Oysters in the Environment: Learn about the Eastern oyster’s biology and ecology.
  • Oyster Anatomy Laboratory: Study the external and internal anatomy of the oyster virtually and in the laboratory.
  • Hunting for Hemocytes: Observe one of the only lines of defense an oyster has against disease – hemocytes. Oysters lack an immune system but rely on these cells to engulf foreign invaders. Learn to harvest hemolymph (circulatory fluid) and isolate hemocytes from the Eastern oyster.
  • Particulate Matters: Learn how suspension-feeders like oysters trap particulates on their gills and then transport materials to the mouth for sorting and/or consumption.
  • Download the Oysters in the Classroom interactive lessons.

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