A kelping hand

As carbon dioxide is pumped into the atmosphere, the oceans absorb much of it, changing the chemical balance of the seawater. The phenomenon is termed ocean acidification and it’s a potential threat for some marine species. Now, the shellfish industry have to combat chemical changes as the water in their hatcheries becomes inhospitable. But Davis has a plan: kelp.

Led by the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, Davis and a crew of oceanographers, biologists and chemists started testing kelp’s natural ability to absorb dissolved carbon dioxide in Puget Sound’s water in 2016. They wanted to know if kelp could soak up enough carbon to create a halo of healthy water around areas growing shellfish. Ocean water has remained slightly basic for thousands of years, but in the last two centuries it has begun to increase in acidity. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects seawater will be 150 percent more acidic by the end of the century, if carbon dioxide emission rates continue to increase at the current pace.

Cameron Ohlson, Western Washington University, Fall 2018. Article.

1 Response to “A kelping hand”


  1. 1 Lina Hansson 14 January 2019 at 13:46

    Note that the terminology used in this article is misleading. The definition of “acidic” in the Oxford English dictionary is “having the properties of an acid; having a pH of less than 7″. Despite the process of ocean acidification, the oceans are alkaline (pH higher than 7) and will not become acidic in the foreseeable future. Hence, “acid” or “acidic” should not be used when referring to seawater. Note that there are few exceptions, seawater can be acidic in the immediate vicinity of CO2 vents or in purposeful perturbation experiments


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