Ocean acidification could have local impacts on South Sound shellfish populations

Shellfish growers in Oregon and Washington are finding that their shellfish production is being negatively impacted by increasing ocean acidity caused by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Betsy Peabody explained how the shellfish are not able to grow their shells when the ocean water acid levels are too high.  

There is a study of natural shellfish populations in Puget Sound to see if there is a similar impact on their populations as what is being experienced in the hatcheries.  At Big Cove in Totten Inlet and Dabob Bay in Hood Canal it was found that high periods of spatfall coincided with low CO2 conditions in the water in both 2009 and 2010.   There is not enough evidence yet to demonstrate a definite effect from acidification on natural shellfish populations, but it is recommended that monitoring continue to look for an impact.

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