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Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Juvenile Atlantic sea scallops in an experimental tank. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

Assessing vulnerability of the Atlantic Sea Scallop social-ecological system in the northeast waters of the US

Of the fisheries made up of calcifiers in the Northeast United States, the Atlantic sea scallop fishery is worth more than $500 million per year, is the second highest fisheries revenue in the United States, and the largest wild scallop fishery in the world. The vulnerability and resilience of fishing communities to the effects of warming and Ocean Acidification (OA) on Northeast species is dependent on their adaptive capacity in relation to both social and environmental exposure and sensitivity factors. Communities that harvest a diversity of species may adapt more easily than communities that specialize in one or a few species. The regional contribution of sea scallop to total regional landed value has steadily increased over recent decades as has fishing community dependence on it as a source of revenue. Prior work projecting impacts to scallops in the region found that sea scallop biomass may decline by more than 50% by the end of the century with a large impact on the fishery (Cooley et al. 2015; Rheuban et al. 2018), but new tools and lab results are available for this proposed work that may alter this assessment. The team is working the hypothesis that a spatially- explicit regional projection of changes relative to sea scallop fishing zones can inform fishery management and allow communities that rely on Atlantic sea scallops to plan and become more resilient to future change. This work will develop a recommendation to management to assist scallop industry stakeholders and managers with changes in the fishery that result from projected OA and temperature changes. 

Assessing vulnerability of the Atlantic Sea Scallop social-ecological system in the northeast waters of the US Read More »

Flexing mussels: Does Mytilus edulis have the capacity to overcome effects of Ocean Acidification?

We are likely to see “winners”, those species or individuals that are most resilient in the face of climate change, and “losers” those species or individuals that are least capable of robust performance under stressful conditions.  At present, we cannot predict winners and losers, and do not know whether responses to environmental stress are primarily driven by phenotypic plasticity, broad performance under different environmental conditions, or if there are genetic or epigenetic factors that can result in cross-generational directional changes in populations, resulting in more resilience under stressful conditions of OA.   This project has two objectives: 
1)  To test for cross-generational adaptation to the impacts of increasing ocean acidification on blue mussels, either through phenotypic acclimation or through heritable changes. 
2)  To determine if there are tradeoffs in growth and development across life stages in response to stress induced by ocean acidification in blue mussels.
The results of our experiments can then be used to develop management practices for wild populations and more robust aquaculture practices for blue mussels. From an aquaculture perspective, if animals from certain source populations are more resilient to OA stress, those locations could be targeted for collection of wild seed that will produce resilient mussels in aquaculture leases.  Furthermore, the environmental characteristics of these advantageous site(s) could then be characterized to predict other sites that may also produce resilient mussels.  Overall, the data obtained from this proposed work could be used to enhance mussel culture, an economically important activity of growing importance in our region.

Flexing mussels: Does Mytilus edulis have the capacity to overcome effects of Ocean Acidification? Read More »

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ADAPTING TO OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

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:

FORECASTING

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

MANAGEMENT

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

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

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

REDUCING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

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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TAKE ACTION WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

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