Philine zu Ermgassen


Since completing her PhD in 2010 Philine zu Ermgassen has been working with The Nature Conservancy to quantify the benefits we derive from threatened marine habitats.

Philine zu Ermgassen

She is currently based in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh, having moved from the University of Cambridge in late 2016. While oyster habitats remain one of her primary interests, her work has also covered the benefits we derive from saltmarshes, seagrasses, mangroves, coral reefs and off shore reef areas.


William Baker has been in the oyster fishing industry for some 40 years, cultivating his own oyster beds in the creeks of Essex. He fishes for both native oysters and introduced Pacific oysters. William has been a Marine Management Organisation member on Kent & Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, and is currently a member of the Essex Native Oyster Restoration Initiative.

Recovering and reconnecting with the Essex oyster

While easily recognisable on a plate, European oysters in their natural habitat are inconspicuous and unassuming, particularly since the catastrophic declines in this species’ abundance in the 1800s, driven largely by overfishing.
But oysters are not only delicious, they are also extremely useful critters, binding together communities as well as mud. Today the Blackwater oystermen together with the Essex Native Oyster Restoration.