UMM to lead Machias Bay acidification study

MACHIAS, Maine — The University of Maine at Machias, bolstered by a Libra Foundation Grant, is taking the lead role in a research project to study ocean acidification in Machias Bay.
Ocean acidification, often called the evil twin of climate change, is the absorption of carbon dioxide by ocean water. The carbon dioxide is produced by humans burning fossil fuels. Acidification is particularly bad for creatures with calcium carbonate in their shells or skeletons, like mollusks, crabs, and corals. Acidic water makes it harder for them to grow those shells, so many have a hard time surviving as the sea’s chemistry changes. This could have a disastrous effect on the Downeast fishing economy.

The Machias Bay Initiative will be led by UMM Professor Jon Reisman and will be a collaboration between the coast communities who rely on the the ocean for economic progress, local schools, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, state legislators, local fishing related businesses and Washington County Council of Governments.

As Maine’s Coastal University, UMM will be using Machias Bay as a living laboratory to determine what is going on with the chemistry of the ocean. These studies, Reisman said, will use the physical geography of Machias Bay. Reisman said that the presence of massive pine groves along the banks of the Machias Bay may be what is increasing its acidity.

“UMM has a mission as the Coastal University but also has a tie to our communities here,” Reisman said. “This project is a true collaboration. Each of the participating towns will have a real place at the table. UMM is no stranger to challenges and a stronger UMM makes for stronger Maine and a better coastal economy.”

Over the summer, Reisman will be approaching area communities and businesses, seeking their participation in the project. The study will begin in the fall with the hopes of siting an academic conference at UMM a year from now. Any coastal related business that wishes more information can contact him at jreisman(at)

The University of Maine at Machias News, 31 May 2016. Article.

1 Response to “UMM to lead Machias Bay acidification study”

  1. 1 Mike McD 5 June 2016 at 19:56

    “Reisman said that the presence of massive pine groves along the banks of the Machias Bay may be what is increasing its acidity. ” The “massive pine groves” would have been contributing to the bay’s acidity all along, not just recently. Something is amiss with the logic behind this study’s leadership.

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