California and Oregon are joining forces to help address ocean acidification and hypoxia, a West Coast-wide thereat to our shared marine and coastal ecosystem. The California Natural Resources Agency , on behalf of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state of Oregon to jointly sponsor a high-level science panel to help address the issue of ocean acidification and hypoxia.
Following a recent Town Council appropriation, the town’s shellfish community has started what is being called a “historic” effort to address the rapid disappearance of soft-shell clams.
The effort is the first comprehensive, large-scale research project in Maine to study the most significant factors believed to be contributing to the decline of shellfish resources, said Brian Beal, a professor at the University of Maine at Machias and one of the scientists working on the project.
“To the best of my knowledge, I am not aware of any community that has raised this much money for a shellfish research project, ever,” he said. “(It) underscores the commitment by the town to this very important commercial resource that they co-manage with the state of Maine.”
A new study co-authored by Prof. Roger Mann of 's Virginia Institute of Marine Science adds a new item to the list of oyster reef benefits — the ability to buffer increasing acidity of ocean waters.
Concerns about increasing acidity in Chesapeake Bay and the global ocean stem from human inputs of carbon dioxide to seawater, either through burning of fossil fuels or runoff of excess nutrients from land. The latter over-fertilizes marine plants and ultimately leads to increased respiration by plankton-filtering oysters and bacteria. In either case, adding carbon dioxide to water produces carbonic acid, a process that has increased ocean acidity by more than 30 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Coral reefs are in trouble worldwide, from a host of threats, including warming ocean temperatures, nutrient runoff and increasing ocean acidity. A noted climate scientist from California has been conducting an experiment on Australia's Great Barrier Reef to see whether antacid could boost coral growth.