Northeastern University assistant professor David Kimbro, a wild oyster ecology expert formerly with Florida State’s Coastal and Marine Laboratory, called Alligator Harbor a “marginal habitat” for oysters. Because of its lack of direct freshwater sources and reduced flows into the bay, salinity has steadily increased in the last five years.
“There aren’t many things as hardy as oysters,” Kimbro said. “They love the variations of estuaries. It stresses them out, but it wipes the slate clean of predators.”
Grown in cages, farmed oysters are more protected from marine predators, but a lack of freshwater can still make them susceptible to diseases.