At the very edge of Texas coastal bays, broad mud flats are barely under water even at high tide. In the shallows, sea grass beds are the base of a broad food web that reaches into the Gulf, and where the currents run fast, oyster reefs thrive.
In the open bay, nutrient-rich waters support a multitude of tiny life. Where water flow is restricted, though, hypersaline lagoons full of extra salty water form. And on the seaward sides, barrier islands keep the Gulf at bay.
Solid as a Reef
On the muddy bay floors, the hard ridges of oyster reefs provide the only natural solid bottom along the Texas coast. These reefs build slowly as young oysters cement themselves to oyster shells already on the reef.
When conditions are rights, these reefs can reach massive proportions, Some are so large they alter the way water circulates in the bays!
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