Effects of ocean acidification on Central Coast sea life (text & video)

MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) – Researchers along the California coast have been concerned about acidity levels in the water and what impacts it could have on local sea life.

Specifically, researchers have been looking at pH and acidity levels.

“One of the things is a lot of the monitoring that would’ve been going on without covid just didn’t happen,” says Steve Litvin with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Although field teams weren’t out as much, the amount of cold water coming to the bay is reassuring.

“You know that every spring we have this upwelling that happens, that’s the cold deep water that comes up because of the wind conditions,” says Litvin.

That brings nutrient rich water which helps with the local kelp forest and local fisheries like the Monterey Abalone Company.

“We haven’t noticed anything ocean acidification related affecting our abalone or anything like that,” says Andrew Kim with the Monterey Abaone Company.

Their farm is underneath the Old Fisherman’s Wharf and has been for the past three decades.
They rely heavily on the local kelp to feed and grow their abalone.
Researchers have found kelp also acts as buffer against acidity in the water and incrases dissolved oxygen, creating condition conducive to calcification.

“I don’t think these are things you can see in a small chunk of time,” says Kim.

Researchers at MBARI agree that adaptations may be happening already but only time will show the true affects of ocean acidification.

“You know how these marine species may be adapted, ya know what the limits of that adaptation may be,” says Litvin.

This is something that researchers are keeping an eye on.

Max Tarlton, KION 546, 4 April 2021. Text and video.

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