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Energetic response of Atlantic surfclam Spisula solidissima to ocean acidification

Citation: Emilien Pousse, Matthew E. Poach, Dylan H. Redman, George Sennefelder, Lauren E. White, Jessica M. Lindsay, Daphne Munroe, Deborah Hart, Daniel Hennen, Mark S. Dixon, Yaqin Li, Gary H. Wikfors, Shannon L. Meseck, Energetic response of Atlantic surfclam Spisula solidissima to ocean acidification, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 161, Part B, 2020, 111740, ISSN 0025-326X,

In this study, we assessed the Atlantic surfclam (Spisula solidissima) energy budget under different ocean acidification conditions (OA). During 12 weeks, 126 individuals were maintained at three different ρCO2 concentrations. Every two weeks, individuals were sampled for physiological measurements and scope for growth (SFG). In the high ρCO2 treatment, clearance rate decreased and excretion rate increased relative to the low ρCO2 treatment, resulting in reduced SFG. Moreover, oxygen:nitrogen (O:N) excretion ratio dropped, suggesting that a switch in metabolic strategy occurred. The medium ρCO2 treatment had no significant effects upon SFG; however, metabolic loss increased, suggesting a rise in energy expenditure. In addition, a significant increase in food selection efficiency was observed in the medium treatment, which could be a compensatory reaction to the metabolic over-costs. Results showed that surfclams are particularly sensitive to OA; however, the different compensatory mechanisms observed indicate that they are capable of some temporary resilience.

This project was funded by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the Ocean Acidification Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) works to prepare society to adapt to the consequences of ocean acidification and conserve marine ecosystems as acidification occurs. Learn more about the human connections and adaptation strategies from these efforts.

Adaptation approaches fostered by the OAP include:


Using models and research to understand the sensitivity of organisms and ecosystems to ocean acidification to make predictions about the future, allowing communities and industries to prepare


Using these models and predictions as tools to facilitate management strategies that will protect marine resources and communities from future changes


Developing innovative tools to help monitor ocean acidification and mitigate changing ocean chemistry locally


On the Road

Drive fuel-efficient vehicles or choose public transportation. Choose your bike or walk! Don't sit idle for more than 30 seconds. Keep your tires properly inflated.

With your Food Choices

Eat local- this helps cut down on production and transport! Reduce your meat and dairy. Compost to avoid food waste ending up in the landfill

With your Food Choices

Make energy-efficient choices for your appliances and lighting. Heat and cool efficiently! Change your air filters and program your thermostat, seal and insulate your home, and support clean energy sources

By Reducing Coastal Acidification

Reduce your use of fertilizers, Improve sewage treatment and run off, and Protect and restore coastal habitats

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You've taken the first step to learn more about ocean acidification - why not spread this knowledge to your community?

Every community has their unique culture, economy and ecology and what’s at stake from ocean acidification may be different depending on where you live.  As a community member, you can take a larger role in educating the public about ocean acidification. Creating awareness is the first step to taking action.  As communities gain traction, neighboring regions that share marine resources can build larger coalitions to address ocean acidification.  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Work with informal educators, such as aquarium outreach programs and local non-profits, to teach the public about ocean acidification. Visit our Education & Outreach page to find the newest tools!
  2. Participate in habitat restoration efforts to restore habitats that help mitigate the effects of coastal acidification
  3. Facilitate conversations with local businesses that might be affected by ocean acidification, building a plan for the future.
  4. Partner with local community efforts to mitigate the driver behind ocean acidification  – excess CO2 – such as community supported agriculture, bike & car shares and other public transportation options.
  5. Contact your regional Coastal Acidification Network (CAN) to learn how OA is affecting your region and more ideas about how you can get involved in your community
       More for Taking Community Action