Ocean Acidity May Cause Shellfish Decline

STONY BROOK, N.Y., Oct. 27 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they have discovered ocean acidification might be contributing to global shellfish declines.

Stony Brook University researchers said they’ve determined relatively minor increases in ocean acidity caused by elevated carbon dioxide concentrations can impede the growth and survival of hard clams, bay scallops and Eastern oysters.

The scientists at the university’s school of marine and atmospheric sciences said their research is among the first studies looking at the effect of ocean acidification on shellfish.

Professor Chris Gobler and doctoral candidate Stephanie Talmage said they showed the larval stages of the shellfish species are extremely sensitive to enhanced levels of carbon dioxide in seawater.

“In recent decades, we have seen our oceans threatened by overfishing, harmful algal blooms, and warming,” said Gobler. “Our findings suggest ocean acidification poses an equally serious risk to our ocean resources.”

The work is to appear in the November issue of the journal Limnology and Oceanography.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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