Betsy Peabody, Puget Sound Restoration Fund, on “Ocean acidification monitoring in Totten Inlet”
Partners: NOAA PMEL, UW, Pacific Shellfish Institute, PS Restoration Fund, Pacific Coast Sehllfish Growers Association; Taylor Shellfish, Baywater, Inc.; Department of Ecology; funded by Puget Sound Partnership
Warning signs were repeated larval mortalities in WA and OR shellfish hatcheries and shellfish failures in Willapa Bay/Grays Harbor.
These were part of larger problem of ocean acifidication. 25% of human-emitted CO2 is absorbed by oceans leading to a decrease in pH (an increase in acidity), which affects ocean life.
Coastal upwelling brings deep water in the North Pacific, which contains more CO2 than the rest of the world, to the surface.
More CO2 in the water leads to a decrease in aragonite, which is required by shelled organisms.
Question studied: Is there an effect on natural shellfish populations in Puget Sound?
Study: A two year sampling effort of Big Cover, Totten Inlet and Dabob Bay, Hood Canal, which are both important shellfish places.
Increasing acidity could affect shellfish production, and their role in natural filtration, ecological services, and ecosystem restoration. The non-scientist would notice fewer local food sources, increasing eutrophic waters, and troubled economies.
Thus far, no sign yet that natural shellfish populations are affected.
“Knowing about potential local effects increases the urgency to reduced CO2 emissions.”