More research to understand how our addiction to fossil fuels is affecting our food sources.
Millions of pounds of Dungeness crab are pulled from Pacific Northwest waters each year in a more than century-old ritual for commercial and recreational fishermen. But as ocean waters absorb more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, U.S. scientists are worried that the ocean’s changing chemistry may threaten the sweet-flavoured crustaceans. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are exposing tiny crab larvae to acidic seawater in laboratory experiments to understand how ocean acidification might affect one of the West Coast’s most lucrative fisheries. Research published this year found that Dungeness crab eggs and larvae collected from Puget Sound and exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide — which increases ocean acidity — grew more slowly and larvae were more likely to die than those in less corrosive seawater. Now researchers at NOAA’s Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center are taking the experiments a step further to study how the crabs respond to multiple stressors during various growth stages. They also plan to analyze the sublethal effects: Even if the crabs don’t die are they affected in physiological or other ways by ocean acidification? (Associated Press)