Healthy Oysters for Healthy Coasts, Oceans and Climate

MON, DEC 14, 2020 (59:12)

Globally, oyster habitats are the most degraded habitats among coastal systems, with the loss of 99% in the last 150 years. These 350 million years old keystone species and their habitats are at the brink of total collapse from industrial harvesting and pollution of coastal areas.

Today scientists understand the ecological value of oyster habitats and their importance to coastal health. Re-establishing oyster populations improves water quality, biodiversity, seafood safety, and can be a buffer to rising sea levels.

Dr. Anamarija Frankic explains the biomimicry approach for oyster habitat restoration to recover marine health and resiliency. Looking at the work of the Green Harbors Project (GHP), we can examine several successful oyster reef restorations in urban areas that had lost this essential habitat and its related ecological functions, as well as ask what we can learn from this success for restoring our planet.

This talk is part of the Life Saves the Planet lecture series. More info:

Resources mentioned in this talk:

Download the handbook from the Native Oyster Restoration Alliance

Oyster Grandpa in Japan

Anamarija’s work at the Green Harbors Project

VIDEO: Deepwater- Norri Project

Rick Van Noy article in Yes Magazine (2019) “As entire islands disappear in Chesapeake Bay, the oyster is enlisted as a first line of climate defense”

Abstract from Dr. Antonio Rodriguez, “Oyster reefs can outpace sea-level rise”

Trailer: Shell Shocked

+ BIO: Jim Laurie

Jim Laurie is a Biologist, Futurist, and co-founder of Biodiversity for a Livable Climate. He believes that our species can thrive if we can rapidly shift to a symbiotic world view and restore the world’s great ecosystems.

Jim got his BA in Biology from Rice University, and his MS in Future Studies from the University of Houston. He worked in the chemical industry in Texas where he was the laboratory technical trainer.

In 1988, Jim met John Todd, a visionary biologist at the New Alchemy Institute. Learning from John and evolutionary biologist, Lynn Margulis, Jim built several biodiverse ecosystems to clean toxic wastewater at the chemical plant. Self-organizing ecologies of microbes linked with plants, and animals made it possible to break down ammonia, chloroform, and BPA to very low levels. In 1995, Jim moved to Vermont to manage the Vermont Living Machine designed by John Todd and funded by EPA. This research project cleaned 80,000 gallons of sewage per day in a biodiverse greenhouse.

While living in Texas, Jim also met Allan Savory, a biologist from Zimbabwe and New Mexico who was helping ranchers reverse desertification with his Holistic Management process. These ranchers were tripling herd sizes and moving herds frequently on degraded lands. Proper timing created healthy grasslands built on rich soils where rain water could easily infiltrate and improve the water cycle.

Jim also volunteered at the International Wolf Center to learn about Wolves and Bears and the Northern Minnesota Forest. In 2005, he studied Redwood Forests and Salmon runs in Northern California on the Eel River. Paul Stamets wrote “Mycelium Running” that year and Jim built a small lab in Maryland to grow mushrooms and learn about fungi.

These foundations of ecological thinking helped create Biodiversity for a Livable Climate in 2014. Climate change had become a major concern, but few realized the importance of biodiversity. The Bio4climate Team has since been determined to make ecological restoration of grasslands, wetlands, forests, and regenerative agriculture a centerpiece for future planning. Jim wrote “Scenario 300” in 2017 challenging humans to restore 12 billion acres globally by 2061.

Jim loves teaching and spreading the message of biodiversity and restoration. He started with homeschool biology classes for teenagers and the “Homeschool Symbiosis Team” students have spoken at many Bio4climate events. He is now teaching Biodiversity Courses by Zoom to a world wide audience of all ages.

+ BIO: Anamarija Frankić

Anamarija Frankić is is the founding director of the Green Harbors Project, and the Biomimicry LivingLabs, professor at the University of Zadar, and an adjunct professor at the University of Split, Croatia. She is a Biomimicry, Fulbright, and Sea Grant Knauss fellow. In 2014 she co-founded Biomimicry New England. Her interdisciplinary work is grounded in biology, ecology, limnology and marine science. She has focused on applying science in coastal ecosystems conservation and management nationally and internationally. Professor Frankić helped initiate and develop major conservation projects in Croatia and the Adriatic region funded through the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the European Union.

Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
Climate Change
Life Saves the Planet