Oyster Coast

Droughts, hurricanes, and industrial-scale harvesting pressure have changed the Texas coast and damaged the oysters that grow in its estuaries. According to Jennifer Pollack, a scientist at Texas A&M–Corpus Christi, oysters are bioindicators of their ecosystems: they can shed light on our changing coastlines within a changing climate. But the charismatic mollusk — a symbol for vitality, a pearl-producer, a culinary delicacy that can be deep-fried or grilled or served raw — can also indicate as much about coastal culture, the people who eat them, and how those people interact with their place. Many of these photos were published with a feature story I wrote on the plight of Texas oysters and “oyster culture” for Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine.