New research tool tracks changes in ocean acidification

A new research tool launched last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is allowing scientists to better track changes in ocean chemistry along the U.S. West Coast.

The tool provides real-time ocean acidification data along the coast and in some protected bays.

It captures data from a couple dozen sensors installed at shellfish farms and hatcheries and other monitoring sites in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska and Hawaii.

University of Washington oceanographer Jan Newton, who led the collaborative effort, said the information can help shellfish growers make crucial decisions about when and how to grow shellfish.

“That’s a really big thing, to enable shellfish growers to have better information so they can adapt to ocean acidification,” Newton said Friday.

The website data tool also serves as an early warning system about ocean acidification. Acidification is caused when oceans absorb carbon-dioxide emissions, mostly from the atmosphere.

Research has shown souring seas have damaged certain marine organisms such as oysters and corals.

Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation & Conservation District Commissioner and Coast Seafoods Operations Manager Greg Dale said the monitoring of ocean acidification is particularly important for oyster hatcheries.

Will Houston & The Associated Press, Willits News, 29 November 2014. Article.

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