Archive for the 'Press releases' Category

A hard shell: how mussels are affected by ocean acidification

Research carried out on day-old mussel larvae explores the effect of a changing climate on shell development, with potential applications for aquaculture and biotechnology.

Scientists studying calcium in a marine environment have discovered a direct link between the acidification of the seas in a changing climate and the rate at which mussels develop their calcified outer shell. The shell of a mussel protects it from predators and is formed at a very early stage of development. At this point, they are particularly sensitive to low pH levels in the ocean caused by increasing uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolved in seawater.

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Climate change drives collapse in marine food webs

A new study has found that levels of commercial fish stocks could be harmed as rising sea temperatures affect their source of food.

University of Adelaide scientists have demonstrated how climate change can drive the collapse of marine “food webs”.

Published in the open access journal PLOS Biology, the study’s lead author PhD student, Hadayet Ullah and supervisors Professor Ivan Nagelkerken and Associate Professor Damien Fordham of the University’s Environment Institute, show that increased temperatures reduce the vital flow of energy from the primary food producers at the bottom (e.g. algae), to intermediate consumers (herbivores), to predators at the top of marine food webs.

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FSU researcher: ocean acidification means major changes for California mussels

Accelerating ocean acidification could be transforming the fundamental structure of California mussel shells, according to a new report from a Florida State University-led team of scientists.

For thousands of years, California mussel shells have shared a relatively uniform mineralogical makeup — long, cylindrical calcite crystals ordered in neat vertical rows with crisp, geometric regularity. But in a study published this week in the journal Global Change Biology, researchers suggest that escalating rates of ocean acidification are shaking up that shell mineralogy on its most basic structural levels.

“What we’ve seen in more recent shells is that the crystals are small and disoriented,” said Assistant Professor of Biological Science Sophie McCoy, who led the study. “These are significant changes in how these animals produce their shells that can be tied to a shifting ocean chemistry.”

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Paving a path for the shellfish industry to adapt to ocean acidification

Shellfish growers in the Pacific Northwest have been feeling the impacts of ocean acidification for nearly a decade now and are concerned about how to keep their businesses thriving in the face of this change. Some have moved their operations to places as far flung as Hawaii. Others who operate hatcheries are ensuring their baby oysters are no longer exposed to corrosive waters by essentially putting antacid into their hatchery waters when elevated carbon dioxide waters upwell onto the coast. Scientists at Oregon State University (OSU) and at the Pacific Shellfish Institute (PSI) just started work on a project to make it easier for the shellfish industry and other stakeholders to identify potential pathways for adaptation to ocean acidification. Natural and social scientists are pooling their expertise to create tools to map which shellfish species and growing locations are most vulnerable to acidification, evaluate economic impact of ocean acidification, quantify the costs of potential adaptations, and evaluate the options most likely to succeed in avoiding adverse consequences.

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Members of Oregon delegation congratulate Oregon State University on $673,000 federal grant to study ocean health

Research will focus on shellfish industry and ocean acidification

Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, and Kurt Schrader congratulated Oregon State University on securing a $673,000 federal grant through NOAA Fisheries to study the effects of ocean acidification on the shellfish industry. OSU is one of three universities to receive two-year grants through a competitive, merit-based process under the new Ocean Acidification Regional Vulnerability Assessment Competition. OSU has been at the forefront of ocean acidification research nationally. Coastal communities and the fishing industry are uniquely vulnerable to ocean acidification, especially the 3,200 people employed in the West Coast shellfish industry.

Continue reading ‘Members of Oregon delegation congratulate Oregon State University on $673,000 federal grant to study ocean health’

Latest science updates to the 2012 WA state Blue Ribbon Panel report

Washington State has experienced some of the earliest, direct impacts of ocean acidification. In order to address these impacts, Governor Chris Gregoire convened an Ocean Acidification Blue Ribbon Panel, the first of its kind in the nation.  In 2012, the panel produced a science-based action plan to tackle ocean acidification in Washington State.

Today, the first update to the 2012 report has been released by the Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC), a Washington state governor’s appointed board based on recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Panel. This addendum is a companion report that expands upon the 2012 work and describes the progress that’s been made over the past five years, recommends new focal areas and provides a renewed commitment to tackle the issue through a number of research, education and climate mitigation and adaptation solutions.

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Fish’s rapid response to climate change

When a chemical alarm cue is released into one of two flumes, the normal response for a fish is to swim down the flume without the chemical. But when the water is more acidic, some fish do not behave normally: instead they swim down the flume that contains the chemical alarm and so toward “danger.”

Fish born to parents tolerant to elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) could have a better chance at adapting to ocean acidification. Understanding how marine life adapts to these and similar environmental changes could help improve future conservation strategies.

An international team led by KAUST wanted to understand how  genes were affected by exposure to high CO2 levels at various points in their lifetime. They also wanted to know if there was an effect on fish born to parents who were exposed to elevated CO2 levels.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book