VIMS, The Virginia Gazette
A new study co-authored by Prof. Roger Mann of 's Virginia Institute of Marine Science adds a new item to the list of oyster reef benefits — the ability to buffer increasing acidity of ocean waters.
Concerns about increasing acidity in Chesapeake Bay and the global ocean stem from human inputs of carbon dioxide to seawater, either through burning of fossil fuels or runoff of excess nutrients from land. The latter over-fertilizes marine plants and ultimately leads to increased respiration by plankton-filtering oysters and bacteria. In either case, adding carbon dioxide to water produces carbonic acid, a process that has increased ocean acidity by more than 30 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
BY: RICHARD HARRIS, NPR
Coral reefs are in trouble worldwide, from a host of threats, including warming ocean temperatures, nutrient runoff and increasing ocean acidity. A noted climate scientist from California has been conducting an experiment on Australia's Great Barrier Reef to see whether antacid could boost coral growth.
BY: RICHARD HARRIS, NPR
Scientists have been worried about coral reefs for years, since realizing that rising temperatures and rising ocean acidity are hard on organisms that build their skeletons from calcium carbonate. Researchers on Australia's Great Barrier Reef are conducting an experiment that demonstrates just how much corals could suffer in the coming decades.
Scientists at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and the Ocean Acidification Center at University of Alaska Fairbanks maintain four buoys in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea that comprise a network to monitor ocean chemistry in sub-arctic waters. These high latitude waters are of much interest and concern because cold waters more readily absorb CO2, which causes a decrease pH and saturation state. Additionally, the predicted reduction of sea ice in this region can increase the uptake of CO2 due to 1) increased freshwater input from melt-water and rivers 2) more seawater being exposed to the atmosphere to absorb CO2and 3) alteration of the production and decomposition of organic carbon due to increased surface area of ocean water.
Stanford scientists have discovered that some purple sea urchins living along the coast of California and Oregon have the surprising ability to rapidly evolve in acidic ocean water -- a capacity that may come in handy as climate change increases ocean acidity. This capacity depends on high levels of genetic variation that allow urchins' healthy growth in water with high carbon dioxide levels.
The study, co-authored by Stephen Palumbi, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and director of Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, revealspreviously unknown adaptive variations that could help some marine species survive in future acidified seas.
BY: DARRYL FEARS, The Washington Post
It is the dawn of the super crab.
Crabs are bulking up on carbon pollution that pours out of power plants, factories and vehicles and settles in the oceans, turning the tough crustaceans into even more fearsome predators.
That presents a major problem for the Chesapeake Bay, where crabs eat oysters. In a life-isn’t-fair twist, the same carbon that crabs absorb to grow bigger stymies the development of oysters.
“Higher levels of carbon in the ocean are causing oysters to grow slower, and their predators — such as blue crabs — to grow faster,” Justin Baker Ries, a marine geologist at the University of North Carolina’s Aquarium Research Center, said in an recent interview.
Ocean acidification, which occurs as CO2 is absorbed by the world's oceans, is a source of concern for marine scientists worldwide. Studies on coral, mollusks, and other ocean denizens are helping to paint a picture of what the future might entail for specific species, should carbon emissions continue to increase.
In a new study published in Global Change Biology, University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science researchers Sean Bignami, Su Sponaugle, and Robert Cowen are the first to study the effects of acidification on the larvae of cobia (Rachycentron canandum). Cobia are large tropical fish that spawn in pelagic waters, highly mobile as they mature, and a popular species among recreational anglers.
BY: DAN VERGANO, USA Today
OYSTER BAY, Wash. -- The tide rolls out on a chilly March evening, and the oystermen roll in, steel rakes in hand, hip boots crunching on the gravel beneath a starry, velvet sky.
As they prepare to harvest some of the sweetest shellfish on the planet, a danger lurks beyond the shore that will eventually threaten clams, mussels, everything with a shell or that eats something with a shell. The entire food chain could be affected. That means fish, fishermen and, perhaps, you.
"Ocean acidification," the shifting of the ocean's water toward the acidic side of its chemical balance, has been driven by climate change and has brought increasingly corrosive seawater to the surface along the West Coast and the inlets of Puget Sound, a center of the $111 million shellfish industry in the Pacific Northwest.
Changes in ocean chemistry threaten Washington state’s Makah tribe as well as the region’s shellfish industry BY: ERIC NILLER, Chemical & Engineering News
The path to Cape Flattery is a twisty, moss-carpeted tunnel underneath red cedar and Douglas fir trees that crowd Washington state’s rugged coastline. Micah McCarty scrambles down the forest trail to a shoreline below, leaping across tide pools and slippery rocks to a point where waves break on shellfish beds. We’ve reached the northwesternmost point of the U.S. mainland, a craggy tip of the Olympic Peninsula that belongs to the Makah tribe.
This group of Native Americans has been fishing and harvesting here for the past 2,000 years. McCarty, the tribe’s 42-year-old former chairman, pulls out a pocket knife and squats down to scrape a handful of mussels and barnacles into his hand. “We call them slippers and boots,” he says. “I’ll make them into a Makah paella tonight.”
McCarty and his family grew up picking these marine delights along the coast. Oysters, clams, cockles, barnacles, and other types of mollusks and shellfish have always been part of the Makah diet, as well as the tribe’s culture. The shells are used both as beads in ceremonial regalia and as musical instruments. But now, changes in the global climate have led to rising ocean acidification that has put in peril the future of the Makah harvest.
Washington governor’s focus on the issue goes beyond ordinary politics. He says finding solutions is both a moral obligation and an economic opportunity. BY: ANDREW GARBER, Seattle Times
OLYMPIA — There was a telling moment just before Gov. Jay Inslee raised his right hand and took the oath of office.
He was introduced as a politician who sees climate change as “an existential threat that transcends politics.”
“More than any other president or governor before him, Jay has an electoral mandate on this issue,” Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970, told a packed audience in the rotunda two months ago.
If lawmakers did not grasp the significance of those remarks then, they do now.
"I can tell you with a high degree of assurance that unless you and I and other people in our state embrace a commitment that we’re going to see to it that our grandkids have that experience, they’re not going to have it. And the simple reason is the water will be too acidic to support those life-forms,” he said.
Richard Feely, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle and an acidification expert, said the governor was probably accurate when it comes to the Pacific oyster, but the science isn’t clear yet on other species such as crabs.