Scientists seek ways to save marine life from ocean acidification

The long-term impacts of acidification on ocean waters are causing higher mortality in sea life, but scientists at Oregon State University are searching for solutions.

Oyster farmers were the first hit in the early 2000s with $110 million in production losses.

“Seed farmers, they grow the oysters that are young, that are planted out; they were having real problems about a decade ago, but because of, basically, being able to measure the chemistry and knowing now how to augment that water that’s going into the hatchery, they’re back in business,” said Oregon State University professor Francis Chan.

In response to the death rates among oyster larvae, Oregon State University started doing research on water chemistry to identify the problem.

The discovery was that carbon dioxide emissions in the air were being absorbed by the ocean, presenting a challenge to marine life trying to form their shells.

“It’s the other side of the carbon dioxide problem for the ocean because we know that carbon dioxide can change the climate, but carbon dioxide can just straight up be dissolved in sea water. And the more carbon dioxide we emit, the more it goes in the ocean. The problem is, carbon dioxide, when it’s in the ocean, it acidifies it,” said Chan.

KTVL, 20 March 2023. Full article.

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