The grit principle and the morphology of oyster reefs.




Gunter, G.

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Old oyster reefs of the genus Crassostrea from barren central ridges consisting of dead shell that may reach to the water surface and above. Some of the reef shell is as fine as flour and it varies upward in size to recently dead valves, but most of this material is of small size and is called grit. It is in constant motion on windy days and this scour prevents the settling of fouling organisms so that large areas of old shell remain bare except in deeper water on the flanks, where the effects of waves usually are not felt on the bottom. There live oysters grow. The grit principle explains the general structure of oyster reefs and their long existence as piles of dead shell until covered by sediment. Recognition of the grit principle explains many previously puzzling facts of live oyster and dead shell distribution. Examples are given.


p. 1-5.


animal morphology, oyster reefs, Crassostrea, life history