Scientists Seek Sea Urchin's Secret to Surviving Ocean Acidification

Scientists Seek Sea Urchin's Secret to Surviving Ocean Acidification

Science Daily

Stanford scientists have discovered that some purple sea urchins living along the coast of California and Oregon have the surprising ability to rapidly evolve in acidic ocean water -- a capacity that may come in handy as climate change increases ocean acidity. This capacity depends on high levels of genetic variation that allow urchins' healthy growth in water with high carbon dioxide levels.

The study, co-authored by Stephen Palumbi, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and director of Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, revealspreviously unknown adaptive variations that could help some marine species survive in future acidified seas.

Monday, April 8, 2013
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Crabs, supersized by carbon pollution, may upset Chesapeake’s balance

Crabs, supersized by carbon pollution, may upset Chesapeake’s balance

The Washington Post

It is the dawn of the super crab.

Crabs are bulking up on carbon pollution that pours out of power plants, factories and vehicles and settles in the oceans, turning the tough crustaceans into even more fearsome predators.

That presents a major problem for the Chesapeake Bay, where crabs eat oysters. In a life-isn’t-fair twist, the same carbon that crabs absorb to grow bigger stymies the development of oysters.

“Higher levels of carbon in the ocean are causing oysters to grow slower, and their predators — such as blue crabs — to grow faster,” Justin Baker Ries, a marine geologist at the University of North Carolina’s Aquarium Research Center, said in an recent interview.

 

Sunday, April 7, 2013
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Putting Larval Cobia to the Acid Test: Potential Resistance to Increasingly Acidic Oceans by Certain Species of Fish

Putting Larval Cobia to the Acid Test: Potential Resistance to Increasingly Acidic Oceans by Certain Species of Fish

Science Daily

Ocean acidification, which occurs as CO2 is absorbed by the world's oceans, is a source of concern for marine scientists worldwide. Studies on coral, mollusks, and other ocean denizens are helping to paint a picture of what the future might entail for specific species, should carbon emissions continue to increase.

In a new study published in Global Change Biology, University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science researchers Sean Bignami, Su Sponaugle, and Robert Cowen are the first to study the effects of acidification on the larvae of cobia (Rachycentron canandum). Cobia are large tropical fish that spawn in pelagic waters, highly mobile as they mature, and a popular species among recreational anglers.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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Special report: USA TODAY will explore how climate change is affecting Americans in a series of stories this year.

Special report: USA TODAY will explore how climate change is affecting Americans in a series of stories this year.

USA Today

OYSTER BAY, Wash. -- The tide rolls out on a chilly March evening, and the oystermen roll in, steel rakes in hand, hip boots crunching on the gravel beneath a starry, velvet sky.

As they prepare to harvest some of the sweetest shellfish on the planet, a danger lurks beyond the shore that will eventually threaten clams, mussels, everything with a shell or that eats something with a shell. The entire food chain could be affected. That means fish, fishermen and, perhaps, you.

"Ocean acidification," the shifting of the ocean's water toward the acidic side of its chemical balance, has been driven by climate change and has brought increasingly corrosive seawater to the surface along the West Coast and the inlets of Puget Sound, a center of the $111 million shellfish industry in the Pacific Northwest.

Thursday, March 28, 2013
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Acidic Ocean Hits Pacific Northwest

Acidic Ocean Hits Pacific Northwest

Chemical & Engineering News

The path to Cape Flattery is a twisty, moss-carpeted tunnel underneath red cedar and Douglas fir trees that crowd Washington state’s rugged coastline. Micah McCarty scrambles down the forest trail to a shoreline below, leaping across tide pools and slippery rocks to a point where waves break on shellfish beds. We’ve reached the northwesternmost point of the U.S. mainland, a craggy tip of the Olympic Peninsula that belongs to the Makah tribe.

This group of Native Americans has been fishing and harvesting here for the past 2,000 years. McCarty, the tribe’s 42-year-old former chairman, pulls out a pocket knife and squats down to scrape a handful of mussels and barnacles into his hand. “We call them slippers and boots,” he says. “I’ll make them into a Makah paella tonight.”

McCarty and his family grew up picking these marine delights along the coast. Oysters, clams, cockles, barnacles, and other types of mollusks and shellfish have always been part of the Makah diet, as well as the tribe’s culture. The shells are used both as beads in ceremonial regalia and as musical instruments. But now, changes in the global climate have led to rising ocean acidification that has put in peril the future of the Makah harvest.

Monday, March 25, 2013
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