Video on NOAA work to breed oysters resistant to ocean acidification – Crosscut & PBS

Local PBS show ReInventors highlights the work of NOAA Manchester’s research facility as they race to find a hybrid oyster that can survive ocean acidification. A very good quick look at the problem, with animation, and the possible solution. If we are going to have seafood survive, this will likely hold the possibility. As it is currently going, we don’t have long before the oceans will be too acidic for shellfish to survive.

The story

https://crosscut.com/2018/10/can-these-super-oysters-survive-our-screwed-oceans

The video

https://youtu.be/WP8J0-90VoM

West Coast Ocean Acidification Rates Among Highest In World – KUOW

These findings spell bad news for our shellfish industry as well as our fisheries. It appears we are ground zero for ocean acidification and we have a administration in Washington D.C. that ignores any science that doesn’t fit it’s narrative. It’s all up to us folks. Thankfully we have a governor and representatives  in Olympia that still do believe in science.

The United States is stepping away from the Paris Climate Agreement, but the consequences of climate change will be more difficult to leave behind. Take ocean acidification, a major emerging threat to West Coast fisheries.

Researchers at Oregon State University have recorded some of the highest levels of ocean acidification in the world – and they exist right off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

http://www.tinyurl.com/y7sjphuy

Study predicts decline in Dungeness crab from ocean acidification – Seattle Times

More on ocean acidification and it’s likely affect on our local food supply.

Dungeness crab are forecast to take a hit from ocean acidification driven by fossil- fuel combustion, according to a study released this past week. Though the populations of the Dungeness crab fluctuate year by year, their overall abundance by 2063 could be about 30 percent lower, according to federal fishery biologist Issac Kaplan, a co-author of the study,  Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/study-predicts-decline-in-dungeness-crab-from-ocean-acidification/

Studies focus on acidic ocean impact on Dungeness crabs – Vancouver Sun

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)

Studies focus on acidic ocean impact on Dungeness crabs

Studies focus on acidic ocean impact on Dungeness crabs -Associated Press

Dungeness Crab is important to our economy and diet, along with the importance to the Tribes as subsistent living guaranteed by the Treaty of 1858. The ramifications of global warming and ocean acidification on the crab,  has not been fully studied. Not it has begun. The findings continue to build evidence that if we don’t get off our reliance on fossil fuels soon, we will likely see destruction of this valuable natural resource.

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)

Studies focus on acidic ocean impact on Dungeness crabs

Acidic Pacific: Act now, or West Coast pays dearly – Seattle PI.com

The PI gets it. It’s time to take radical action, by both the US and Canada, to slow this. Our fisheries are at stake.

Buildup of carbon dioxide is changing the chemistry of the world’s oceans, threatening coastal economies and ecosystems — nowhere more than on the Pacific Coast, according to an expert study released Monday. “Although ocean acidification is a global phenomenon, emerging research indicates that, among coastal areas around the world, the West Coast of North America will face some of the earliest, most severe changes in ocean carbon chemistry.” Those were the findings published in a report produced by a 20-member team of experts, several from the University of Washington, called the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel. It is blunt about human causes, and the urgency of action. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Ocean-acidification-Panel-says-act-now-or-it-7227841.php

Ocean acidification a culprit in commercial shellfish hatcheries’ failures – phsy.org

More news on the science coming in that definitively is pointing to Ocean Acidification being the culprit in hatchery mortality rates here.

The mortality of larval Pacific oysters in Northwest hatcheries has been linked to ocean acidification. Yet the rate of increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decrease of pH in near-shore waters have been questioned as being severe enough to cause the die-offs. Now, a new study of Pacific oyster and Mediterranean mussel larvae found that the earliest larval stages are sensitive to saturation state, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) or pH (acidity) per se. Saturation state is a measure of how corrosive seawater is to the calcium carbonate shells made by bivalve larvae, and how easy it is for larvae to produce their shells. A lower saturation rate is associated with more corrosive seawater. Cheryl Dybas reports. (PHYS.ORG)

http://phys.org/news/2014-12-ocean-acidification-culprit-commercial-shellfish.html

And this article follows on it.

http://phys.org/news/2014-11-tool-west-coast-ocean-acidification.html#inlRlv

For those wanting to understand the science behind “saturation state” you can find the definition down this page. Just “find” saturation state when you get to it. The formula is there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification

Head of State Ecology Answers Prof. Cliff Mass on Ocean Acidification

As reported here in the last few weeks, UW Meteorologist Cliff Mass posted in his blog that recent court filings by the US EPA and State Department of Ecology were evidence that neither really thought that Ocean Acidification was a scientifically proven threat to the Salish Sea and our seafood industries. My criticism here on this blog was then used by him as a place to accuse me of personally attacking him for his views. (see comments in previous articles last week). This week, State Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon stepped into the fray, publishing a scathing blog entry directly addressing his comments. I quote:

Department of Ecology take threats from ocean acidification very seriously. This is not a surprise to many, given our policy and science leadership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to understand and address ocean acidification. But local meteorologist Cliff Mass’s September 7 blog is causing some people to question just what our position is, and whether ocean acidification is real.

Let’s be clear. Ocean acidification is real. Determining the causes, impacts, and identifying potential solutions are high priorities for our agency and our state…

….Cliff Mass quoted a few sentences from legal documents that misled several blog readers to believe that Ecology and EPA have determined that acidification is not damaging oysters in Puget Sound or other local waters. He misinterpreted documents filed under litigation by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

http://coenv.washington.edu/research/major-initiatives/ocean-acidification/oa-in-washingtons-waters-in-the-context-of-marine-water-quality/.

It is gratifying to say the least to see our top bureaucrat in charge of addressing this issue come forward and clearly lay out the issue to any reader in the State. Professor Mass has not yet chosen to respond to this blog post by Ms. Bellon.

Those of us who are involved in educating the public to serious (and sometimes difficult to comprehend) issues like ocean acidification are grateful to Ms. Bellon for stepping up and using her bully pulpit to call out the serious and urgent need for continued scientific work to figure out a solution to this issue, if a solution does in fact exist. There is far too much at stake to sit back and allow critics to derail these efforts without  answering them. It’s what true leadership is all about.

Cliff Mass and hot air – opinion

Last week, regional meteorologist Professor Cliff Mass, called into question the reality of ocean acidification, along with restating his claims that climate change is nothing to worry about anytime soon.

As to his analysis that ocean acidification doesn’t effect us here because of the court filings of the EPA I can confidently state that no one that I’ve contacted that he points to agrees with his conclusions. His misreading of the lawsuit by the Natural Resource Defense Council, and counter suit filings by the State and EPA, is twisting of facts to suit his arguement. He goes on to make points that the whole thing is only being used as a fundraising tool by environmental and grant funding tool by shellfish companies.

My contacts at Taylor Shellfish clearly stated he misinterpreted anything that they told him. They believe Ocean Acidification is real, and a threat to their very business. As to root causes of it, and possible solutions, no one yet has definitive answers, but a lot of people are looking at what those might be. As science should. The suit by the NRDC is stating that they already know enough to take action, while the US EPA and State EPA claim otherwise. To draw the conclusion that they don’t believe it exists from these court filings is absurd.

There has been a poster on the web recently, stating, “If 97% of structural engineers told you that a specific bridge was going to collapse if you drove your car over it, would you trust your life and the lives of your children to the other 3%?”  And the water planners in California, and homeless “climate refugees” in the Methow here in Washington, who have been wiped out by a fire the likes of which has never been seen in the generations that Europeans have been living there, can probably attest, that something is happening here that is outside the box of normal environmental scenarios. 97% of the scientists who study these things call it Climate Change. And they are in agreement over the root cause. It’s man made.

The NOAA web site for Ocean Acidification can be found on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/NoaaOceanAcidificationProgram

And the web site if you aren’t allowing yourself to be monitored for targeted advertising on Facebook.

Here’s the science standing in stark contrast to the outlier, Professor Mass.

http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

climate change

A short film about the shellfish industry

This is about us, now. The impact of ocean acidification on our shellfish industry. Today. A great short film by students at the University of Oregon. Watch it.

This piece explores the effects of ocean acidification because of pollution from CO2 from the point of view of Oregon’s oyster farmers. The state of our ocean’s water quality is changing at a rate that can not be ignored.

 

As Oysters Die, Climate Policy Goes on the Stump – NY Times

Billions of baby oysters in the Pacific inlets here are dying and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington is busy spreading the bad news…. The Democratic governor, aided by what is expected to be millions of dollars from his billionaire friend Tom Steyer, is using the story of Washington’s oysters — scientists say a rise in carbon levels has spiked the acidity of the Pacific and is killing off shellfish — to make the case for passing the most far-reaching climate change policies in the nation. Coral Davenportaug reports. (NY Times)

Read the rest of the story here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/04/us/as-oysters-die-climate-policy-goes-on-stump.html

10 million scallops are dead; Qualicum company lays off staff – Parksville Qualicum Beach News

This in from just over the border. What I understand about scallops is that they are the hardest shellfish to grow, and recent attempts to re-establish them in US Puget Sound waters have been unsuccessful (to commercially viable sizes). Maybe this is why.

High acid levels in the waters around Parksville Qualicum Beach have killed 10 million scallops and forced a local shellfish producer to scale operations back considerably.

Island Scallops CEO Rob Saunders said the company has lost three years worth of scallops and $10 million.

“I’m not sure we are going to stay alive and I’m not sure the oyster industry is going to stay alive,” Saunders told The NEWS. “It’s that dramatic.”

2013 NW Straits: Alexis Valauir -Ocean Acidification Effects on Global Communities

From the 2013 NW Straits Annual Conference, a most interesting talk:

Alexis Valauri-Orton recently completed a year-long Watson Fellowship investigating human narratives of ocean acidification in Norway, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Peru. Over the year, she traded her lab coat for a pair of gum boots, experiencing firsthand the role marine resources play in coastal communities. Investigating narratives of acidification in such diverse communities, she discovered the importance of understanding and navigating the social structures that shape our vulnerabilities and responses to environmental issues. She holds a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Davidson College, in North Carolina, and now lives in her hometown of Seattle. She believes increasing scientific literacy and public awareness on issues like ocean acidification is the key to creating a sustainable future.

The Powerpoints of her talk are found at the NW Straits web site:

http://www.nwstraits.org/Whats-New/Meetings-Events/2013-MRC-Conference.aspx

or directly here (This downloads the presentation to your computer)

Click to access Valauri-Orton-OA.pdf

You can download this for use on a device like an ipod or iphone, or just listen to it right here on your computer.

 

 

Report from the Climate Change Front – State Senator Kevin Ranker at the NW Straits Conference

Washington State is in the forefront of the impacts of climate change around the world. In addition to actually feeling the effects, in alarming problems emerging in our waters that are impacting shellfish, we have a state legislature and governor that have demanded and funded serious scientific study along with  a feedback loop to the lawmakers from the Governor’s directives, as well as State law.

It is difficult to collate all the scientific efforts of this funding into a neat package, but once or twice a year, we get a window into that work. The Northwest Straits Initiative, which for over 15 years has brought together scientists, business interests, tribes  and volunteer citizens, holds their annual conference.  These people belong to the Marine Resource Committees  (MRCs) of seven counties, from Snohomish to the Canadian border, and west through the Strait of Juan de Fuca (along with non-NW Straits Initiative managed counties along the Coast). The MRC  representatives  come together to share the stories of their work, and hear a unified program of science efforts that support or influence that work.

This year, the conference attendees, were treated to an update on many of the various climate change issues that they face. As part of our coverage of this important conference, and because the NW Straits does not have the financial capabilities to hold a large public forum, we  at the Olympic Peninsula Environmental News present a series of presentations to you over the next few weeks, to allow the general public to hear what was told to the attendees. Given that the attendees are mainly volunteers (there are a few part time staff members in each jurisdiction to help in project management and grant writing), and come forward from the local communities, for those who are interested in volunteering, or cannot afford the time and money to attend the conference, we will post audio of all the presentations we were able to cover, which was all but two, and in addition, as time allows, we will also post the powerpoint presentations of those speakers who used it.

Washington State Senator Kevin leads off the presentations. Hailing from  San Juan County,  Senator Ranker has been instrumental in providing support with funding and legislation to scientific research and policy guidance on ocean acidification (OA). OA research is a critical to fund, as the effects of the increased acidification, in even small degrees, appears to have serious outcomes on shellfish, which provides over $270 million dollars a year (2010 number), and over 3200 direct jobs, most of them in rural and lower income communities around the Sea.  These jobs also support the wider communities they live in with indirect jobs, in supporting industries.

Senator Ranker’s presentation can be found at the following link. You can listen to it right here, or download it for later listening on any MP3 player, or your tablet or PC. The presentation is 38 minutes long, and Senator Ranker’s slides will likely be available later. It is our opinion that not immediately having his slides will not detract from his message. The Senator is a very humorous and off the cuff speaker.

If you wish to attend any of the monthly MRC meetings in your area, check their local web sites. All meetings are open to the public and are advertised in advance. You can also support the work of the NW Straits Initiative, by donating to the NW Straits Foundation. Their web site is http://www.nwstraits.org and http://www.nwstraits.org/Foundation/About.aspx.

2013 NW Straits Conference Overview

Just got back from a great two days at the NW Straits conference, held in Bellingham. The good folks that steer our Marine Resource Committees always put together a  conference worth attending, and the only unfortunate thing is that they can’t invite the world at large.

Pictured below, Caroline Gibson and Sasha Horst from the NW Straits Commission greet attendees, while Jefferson County Commissioner and ex-fisherman, Phil Johnson discusses net pens.

2013 NW Straits Collage

This year, Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker and Dr. Terrie Klinger started off by giving an update to the state of the science and legislative activity around  Ocean Acidification.  Washington State is at the forefront of global science on this emerging issue, and the Governor has taken the step to create a commission to look into it and get some actions going on this.

Funding for research and data collection is underway, and we were told that funding for educational activities is not,and pressure needs to be exerted to get this to the schools as new curriculum.

Hugh Shipman of the Washington State Department of Ecology spoke on Sea Level Rise in the Puget Sound basin, and Tina Whitman of Friends of the San Juans along with Andrea MacLennon of the Coastal Geographic Services brought people up to speed on how the scientists and policy makers are measuring and planning for sea level rise in San Juan County.

Kathleen Herrmann of the Snohomish County MRC gave a very interesting talk on a new method for gaining public acceptance of MRC goals, using Collective Impact, which is a model framework applied here for marine conservation. Kathleen has done a great job of researching this and applying it to their issues.

Will Stelle, who is the west coast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, closed out day one, with a really entertaining overview of the issues facing the west coast. I would have to say that this overview should be mandatory for all of us trying to get a good overview of the state of affairs right now. It’s a huge span of work. Will presents it with humor and passion.

Conservation biologist Thor Hanson was the after dinner speaker, giving an overview on his new book, Feathers. Thor’s enthusiasm for his work is quite funny and, yes, I bought the book.

On day two: there was tracks on Tools for Promoting Ocean Acidification (O.A.) Literacy, and in another room, an overview of Nearshore Habitat Restoration: From Idea to Reality, Advice from Local Experts. In the O.A.literacy program, Alexis Valauri-Orton, the Thomas J. Watson Fellow presented a really interesting look at her recent research work in talking to various cultures around the world being affected by O.A. Paul Williams of the Suquamish Tribe updated us on their efforts to teach the issue, and Meg Chadsey of Washington Sea Grant also presented.

After lunch, in addition to an overview of evaluating metrics and outreach projects, Dan Tonnes and Helen Berry gave great insight into Rockfish recovery efforts and Kelp monitoring and management in Puget Sound.

Will Stelle – NOAA West Coast Fisheries Administrator on Fisheries and Furloughs – 45 minutes long. Download the audio file and listen.  http://sdrv.ms/17Z2Kzi

All these presentations will be put up in both audio and video formats for download within the next week.  Check back for the links to them. 

Environmentalists sue EPA over ocean acidification – Bellingham Herald

Not sure this will make any difference, but likely gets their attention.  Would like to talk to someone from the Center for Biological Diversity to understand what they hope to achieve.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday over the threat it says ocean acidification poses to oysters and other sea life off the coasts of Oregon and Washington. It’s the second time in four years the environmental nonprofit has sued the EPA over ocean acidification. The previous lawsuit filed in 2009 was settled out of court in 2010 after the EPA agreed that ocean acidification should be addressed through the federal Clean Water Act. Donna Gordon Blankenship reports.

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/10/16/3262396/environmentalists-sue-epa-over.html

 

Expert: critique of Seattle Times “Sea Change” project ignores the science

Cliff Mass has long been suspect as a climate change denier, often saying that there is not enough proof to make suggestions that global warming is affecting us locally. His recent blog post has gotten wide spread reading as he is considered very thoughtful in his pronouncements. Last week he published a story that said that he didn’t believe that ocean acidification was causing problems with the shellfish here in the Sound and along the coast, both of which active investigations by shellfish growers here in the State. Now, Seattle Times reporter Craig Welch takes Mass to task for his recent post.

Let’s be clear, as stated in the article: “Mass is not a chemical oceanographer, but he is a scientist with some familiarity with these issues.”

Seattle Times reporter Craig Welch, author of the series “Sea Change,” rebuts Cliff Mass’s critique of the series. “Ocean acidification actually is to blame for current problems with Northwest oysters. And that fact is supported by strong evidence. Suggesting otherwise is a misreading of the science. Readers need not take our word for it.”

<a href="http://blogs.seattletimes.com/seachange/2013/10/12/expert-critique-of-seattle-times-sea-change-project-ignores-the-science/“>

Cantwell Grills NOAA Nominee on Ocean Acidification Funding – KPLU

Ocean health is at stake as Congress decides whether to confirm the next head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The nominee faced tough questions from Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, about funding for research of and adaptation to ocean acidification…. In the confirmation hearing, Senator Cantwell grilled the nominee, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, about proposed cuts to a monitoring program. Bellamy Pailthorp reports.

http://kplu.org/post/cantwell-grills-noaa-nominee-ocean-acidification-funding http://kplu.org/post/cantwell-grills-noaa-nominee-ocean-acidification-funding

Rapid Adaptation Is Purple Sea Urchins’ Weapon Against Ocean Acidification – Science Daily

We can only hope they can pass this trait on really fast.

In the race against climate change and ocean acidification, some sea urchins may still have a few tricks up their spiny sleeves, suggesting that adaptation will likely play a large role for the sea creatures as the carbon content of the ocean increases. The purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, has the ability to pass the trait for higher carbon dioxide tolerance to its offspring.   Read the whole story at:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612184040.htm

Event:”Ocean acidification in WA State” June 15th in Port Townsend

“Ocean acidification in WA State: An exploration of its chemical, biological, and societal impacts”
PTMSC presents this lecture by NOAA Research Ecologist Shallin Busch. Busch helped develop NOAA’s Northwest Center state-of-the-art lab for studying the impacts of ocean acidification, hypoxia, and temperature change on coastal marine organisms. She conducts experiments on economically and ecologically important species and uses this research to explore potential impacts of ocean acidification on entire food webs and fisheries. In 2012, Busch served as a member of the WA State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. The lecture is this Saturday, June 15th at 4pm in the Fort Worden State Park JFK Building.  No park pass necessary (note: PTMSC is paying in advance so audience doesn’t have to buy a pass, but if you already have one, please bring and display it on your dash). Admission is $7 adults/$5 adult members/$3 youth/$2 youth members
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