Life on an oyster reef See how a newly restored oyster reef grows and develops over time. © TNC

Ocean stories

Life on an oyster reef

See how a newly restored oyster reef grows and develops over time.

Learn how The Nature Conservancy is bringing marine life back to southern Australia with this interactive animation showing how our restored oyster reefs grow.


Slide the time scale across to the right to watch the changes a new oyster reef goes through as it matures from years 0 to 7.

This app will take a minute to load and is best viewed on Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari internet desktop browsers.

If you're viewing this page on mobile, the animation will be displayed as a video.

Get email updates

Learn about our impact in Australia, latest news and more.

Get updates

About oyster reefs

Oyster reefs also known as shellfish reefs, were once abundant across Australia’s southern coasts, but have been lost due to overexploitation, pollution and disease. Made up of oysters and mussels, these reefs provide important food and habitat for marine life. Like coral reefs, they are the nurseries, homes and sources of food for important fish species like Snapper and King George Whiting, while also helping to improve water quality, reduce coastal erosion and increase biodiversity.

The Nature Conservancy and partners are restoring these reefs from Western Australia all the way up to Queensland, to contribute to a healthier marine environment, improve recreational fishing opportunities and help coastal communities thrive.

Discover our shellfish reef projects around Australia:



Life on an oyster reef interactive tool has been developed with funding from Inspiring South Australia’s Regional Small Grants Program and the Yorke Peninsula Council with support from scientists at The Nature Conservancy, South Australian Department of Environment and Water and The University of Adelaide.