For many, picturing the effects of climate change on the ocean likely conjures visions of melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and bleached coral reefs. Yet these phenomena, unfortunate as they are, seem quite removed from most of our day-to-day lives. But according to new research, climate change could soon hit much closer to home, threatening the nutritional quality of seafood.
Warming and acidification are having serious effects on marine life, driving fish to the poles in search of colder waters and upsetting their reproductive schedules. But according to Kirsten Benkendorff, a marine ecologist at Southern Cross University in Australia, there are other, more insidious, consequences in the works. Even for those species that can acclimatize or adapt, says Benkendorff, stress caused by climate change could still hit the seafood at the store.
In new research, Benkendorff and her team exposed the whelk Dicathais orbita, a type of sea snail, to temperature and acidity conditions similar to those predicted for the end of the century. The results were dramatic. The whelks had decreased glycogen and lipid contents, and the amount of protein in their flesh was nearly cut in half. Other studies have shown similarly worrying effects in other shellfish, including reductions in the concentration of fatty acids. (…)
Josh Gabbatiss, Hakai Magazine, 24 May 2017. Article.