An evaluation of the efficacy of shell hash for the mitigation of intertidal sediment acidification

Our objectives were twofold: (1) to determine whether the addition of shell hash to intertidal sediments would mitigate porewater acidification and (2) whether its effectiveness was dependent on the type of sediment as described by organic matter (OM) and particle grain size (PGS). Field experiments were conducted at two sites within Burrard Inlet, British Columbia; Maplewood Mudflats (MM), high in OM and silt and Whey-ah-Wichen/Cates Park (WAW), low in OM and an equal PGS among very coarse, coarse, fine sand, and silt. Shell hash was added to triplicate treatment plots matched with triplicate controls at each site and porewater pH measured at flood and ebb tide over eight tidal cycles. Sampling occurred during June and July when tidal cycles were at their maximum inundation and exposure. Porewater pH was significantly greater for ebb versus flood tide and also between sites with MM significantly lower (7.59) as compared to WAW (8.03). Although pH was not mitigated by the shell hash, for WAW, variation in pH was reduced as compared to MM, as indicated by coefficients of variation over the 6-week sampling period. We suggest that the application of shell hash to reduce the impact of ocean acidification (OA) on intertidal sediments will be site dependent. The combined processes of eutrophication in sediments with high OM and respiration of infauna, especially at high densities, could act in concert with OA to create an intertidal region unsuitable for bivalve larvae settlement and development.

Doyle B. & Bendell L. I., 2022. An evaluation of the efficacy of shell hash for the mitigation of intertidal sediment acidification. Ecosphere 13(3): e4003. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.4003. Article.

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