by Timothy B. Wheeler, Bay Journal News Service
Oysters come to the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory for a checkup. But they never go home, even if they’re in peak health. They’ve sacrificed their goopy gray bodies to science.
The federal-state lab in the former fishing village of Oxford on Maryland’s Eastern Shore is where government scientists examine oysters and other fish for parasites, diseases and any other maladies that may be afflicting populations in the wild.
The low brick building was built in 1960, on the heels of a major oyster die-off in the Chesapeake Bay attributed in large part to a mysterious new disease called MSX. Since then, the lab has been engaged in a long-running effort in both Maryland and Virginia to track and understand MSX and another disease, Dermo…