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Study focuses on effect of warming waters on mussels -Islandssounder
Though they’re less glamorous than oysters, mussels dominate rocky coastlines and support aquaculture worldwide. Now Washington Sea Grant-supported researchers at University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs are investigating potential climate-related threats to the amazingly tough mussel threads that anchor them to wave-pounded rocks and docks. The unassuming but commercially valuable mussel dominates temperate seas worldwide, clinging to rocks and docks by a cluster of thread-like anchors called the byssus or “the beard.” The byssus’s unique protein matrix gives each thread extraordinary strength, even in salt water. But will byssal threads still hold fast as the seas become warmer and more acidic? Supported by Washington Sea Grant, UW biology professor Emily Carrington is trying to answer that question and determine whether food supply and spawning may also affect byssal strength. The answers she’s finding aren’t simple, but they’re sometimes surprising. (Islands Sounder)

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