3 Jan 2012

Scientists seek to decipher language of oysters

10:58 am on 3 January 2012

Scientists in Japan have begun an experiment to try to decode the language of oysters.

The aim is to work out what the shellfish are saying about changes in their environment so oyster farmers can get early warning of potential problems, the BBC reports.

Japanese scientists hope that if they can understand what oysters are saying they will be able to prevent the sudden mass deaths that sometimes wipe out oyster farms.

The team has developed a device that can measure how often the oysters open and shut their shells.

The scientists believe oysters alter their movements in response to changes in seawater.

That could provide oyster farmers with an early warning of threats to their stocks, including low oxygen levels or algal blooms, known as red tide.