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Are You an Oyster?

By theProduct on August 21, 2014

pearl_oyster_whole

Are you an oyster? Strange question, but read on, you might just be surprised to find out that you are just like one of these fascinating, robust little creatures.

I know this may seem like an interesting article, but please endure, I hope I make a pretty good argument.

Let’s do a little bit of the sciencey stuff, so you can understand why I have asked, Are you an Oyster?

It’s a bit of a strange leap, I know, but hold on until the end and it will all tie together. When I told the guys in the office what I was writing about they went, ‘oh, ok, she’s lost it again’ But if I’ve done my job properly, you may just say, ‘yep, I am an oyster too’

Most of us know that an oyster is something we either eat, or it produces pearls.
We know they have a hard outer shell and they are squooshy inside.
We eat True Oysters and get pearls from Pearl Oysters – funny that.
Most oysters can produce pearls, but only the pearl oysters produce anything of any financial value.

To give you an idea why natural pearls are so expensive – out of approximately a 3 tonne harvest, only about a handful of oysters produce perfect pearls. Sounds like a lot of work for little return. I guess some of the oysters just give up, don’t have what it takes to go the long yard.

The natural pearl is grown when a parasite or grain of sand invades an oyster and gets covered with nacre (aka mother of pearl). Over the years this annoying, icky invader develops into something beautiful – the pearl! This little blight in the oyster’s shell gets covered over and over with the nacre layers until it becomes a pearl. It is the pigment in the nacre that gives off the pearl colour. Talk about overcoming adversity!

Now the anatomy of a oyster is absolutely fascinating. Although, you may not be overly keen to eat them after this, but fascinating nonetheless.

oyster_in_shellOysters, believe it or not have gills, cilia – little hairs that push food etc. along to the next stage in digestion, a three-chambered heart, an adductor muscle – ahh the bit you eat, colourless blood, two kidneys and they have both male and female reproductive organs.

The process from fertilization to full grown oyster is amazing. The oyster starts its journey as a larvae which develops to plankton in a few hours and then it is able to swim around for up to a few weeks while it finds the perfect location to set up shop and settle down.

The ideal permanent home for an oyster to develop is a mix of salt and fresh water, warm all year around and the water needs to be pretty clear. Sounds alright to me. They need to be sure of their final resting place, because once they choose the spot and start to grow their shell, umm they are stuck fast. No moving for these little fellas, so hopefully they like their neighbours.

The oyster shell is made of calcium carbonate (lime). The chemicals needed to produce the shell is already in the water!! The special skin of the plankton helps to spread the calcium carbonate to start to form the shell.

Voila! Oyster as we know it.

Now as if that isn’t enough, oysters have a really important job to do. They filter water – in fact half a hectare of oysters can filter nearly 53 million litres of water an hour and remove 1360 kilograms of nitrogen a year. That’s some serious cleaning duty there. They also provide a home for other sea life. Oh and from an eating stand point they are even nutritional.

Ok, that’s probably enough of the science lesson – let’s get back to why I asked, Are you an Oyster?

  • Are you able to take in your environment and make a positive, educated choice about who you surround yourself with?
  • Are you so confident in your decisions that you can live with them – when at times there is no turning back?
  • Can you fight against the odds, to make something of your life, even when the deck is stacked against you?
  • When irritants come your way, do you close up shop and do nothing or do you take that heartache/job loss/broken relationship and so on, and turn it into something beautiful?
  • Are you able to protect yourself from the predators in life, by knowing when it is time to clam up?
  • Do you know the best time to open your mouth and when to keep it closed?
  • Even if you need to be a bit tough on the outside are you still soft on the inside?
  • Are you able to provide shelter for others, because of the wise choices you have made?
  • Oh and lastly, are you happy to do the job that needs doing, without any need for praise or in most cases, even acknowledgement of what has been done?

pearl_oysterI personally reckon, to be an oyster is a pretty cool option. I hope that I can live my life in some way, where others can say, yep, she’s an oyster 🙂

Yours in Health

Kerrilee

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