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Press Release 10-150

Cement, the Glue That Holds Oyster Families Together

Chemists discover how oysters bond together to form massive reef complexes

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Illustration showing how oysters build their reefs using a specialized cement.

Oysters build their reefs--such as this one on the South Carolina coast--using a specialized cement, one that differs in composition from their shells, as well as from other marine organism adhesives.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation; photos by Jonathan Wilker, Purdue University


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Photo of an oyster reef in the Baruch Marine Field Laboratory on the South Carolina coast.

An oyster reef in the Baruch Marine Field Laboratory on the South Carolina coast.

Credit: Jonathan Wilker, Purdue University


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Close-up photo of oysters bonded to each other.

Oysters use a chemical cement to bond to each other, a material that differs significantly from the chemistry of their shells or the chemistry of other marine organism adhesives.

Credit: Jonathan Wilker, Purdue University


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