Hannah Pearson works in a small, windowless room that resembles a super-villain’s secret lab. Rows of cylindrical tanks, each about 7 feet tall, contain brightly colored liquids in green, yellow, and orange. If it was a Hollywood set, the next mutant nemesis of Iron Man or Spiderman might burst forth at any moment.

But this is the hatchery at Island Creek Oyster Farm in Duxbury, so the only thing growing in those giant test tubes is algae. Pearson, a marine biologist and the hatchery manager, monitors each of the 18 tanks closely. Algae feeds the farm’s baby oysters — no bigger than grains of sand at this stage — and is one of the first keys to a business that expects to harvest and sell about 6 million oysters this year.

“Every single one has a different nutritional value,” Pearson said of the algae varieties in her charge. “I make a combination every day so the oysters have a variety of nutrients in their diet.”

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