Kristine Lofgren

The Ocean Has Become So Acidic it's Dissolving Baby Oyster Shells

by , 05/28/14

Ocean acidification, ocean carbon level, ocean carbon absorption, ocean ph levels, ocean acidification from co2, ocean co2, changing oceans, ocean ph level from co2, oceans climate change, oceans global warming, climate change, global warming, immediate impacts climate change, immediate impacts global warming, global warming co2, climate change co2, global warming carbon emissions, climate change carbon emissions, changing oceans carbon emissions

When we talk about the acidification of the oceans, we sometimes focus on the impact that it will have in the future. But for Taylor Shellfish Farms, a fifth-generation farm in Oregon that harvests oysters, the impact is already here. The ocean has become so acidic that baby oysters are actually dissolving in the water before they even have a chance to grow.

Ocean acidification, ocean carbon level, ocean carbon absorption, ocean ph levels, ocean acidification from co2, ocean co2, changing oceans, ocean ph level from co2, oceans climate change, oceans global warming, climate change, global warming, immediate impacts climate change, immediate impacts global warming, global warming co2, climate change co2, global warming carbon emissions, climate change carbon emissions, changing oceans carbon emissions

According to the latest National Climate Change Assessment, the ocean has become 30 percent more acidic than it was in pre-industrial times because the ocean absorbs about one-fourth of all carbon emissions. Much of the sea life in the ocean is struggling to adapt and clams and oysters are particularly having a difficult time. “Shellfish is very vulnerable when it’s first being created,” says Brittany Taylor, “and it’s the acidity in the water that makes it hard for them to form their shells.”

Related: 10 Million Scallops Killed by Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels in the Ocean

The Taylor family started farming oysters 100 years ago and the tradition has carried on generation after generation. But today their business has been threatened by the changing ocean. “The ocean is so acidic that it is dissolving the shells of our baby oysters,” says Diani Taylor, “it would be devastating to lose such a big part of our history.” Because acidification shows no signs of slowing, there is no telling how much worse the damage could become and what other impacts we could see in the future, but for Taylor Shellfish, the consequences are already here.

Via Grist

Lead image via Shutterstock, image via Kent Wang

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1 Comment

  1. ian l. mcqueen May 29, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Please explain what you mean by “30% more acidic”. The range of acidity – alkalinity (H3O)+ ion concentration)covered by the pH scale is (if my memory of chemistry is correct) 10 followed by 14 zeros.
    Wasn’t the extra CO2 from a change in ocean current?

    Ian M

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