Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Scallops… OH My!

A bivalve is an animal that has two hinged shells, which are called valves. All bivalves are mollusks. Examples of bivalves are clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops. Bivalves are found in both freshwater and marine environments. Many bivalves feed by filter feeding, in which they draw water over their gills, and tiny organisms collect in the organism's gill mucus. The also breathe by drawing fresh oxygen from the water as it passes over their gills.

Bivalves are some of the most important seafood species. Oysters, scallops, mussels, and clams are popular selections at just about every seafood restaurant. According to NOAA, the commercial value of bivalve harvests in 2011 was over $1 billion, just in the U.S.  This harvest weighed over 153 million pounds. 

Bivalves are organisms particularly vulnerable to climate change and ocean acidification. Increasing acidity in the ocean is affecting the ability for bivalves to effectively build their calcium carbonate shells. d bivalve, you're eating the body or a muscle inside. When you're eating a scallop, for example, you'r eating the adductor muscle. The adductor muscle is a round, meaty muscle that the scallop uses to open and close its shell.