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Posted Fri Apr 30 2010: from MNN:
So long, shellfish: Oysters falling victim to ocean acidification
Could seafood fans be saying goodbye to shellfish sometime soon? Millions of oyster larvae have been dying in Northwest farms due to increasingly acidic ocean waters, which robs them of their ability to grow their shells, according to ABC News. The world's oceans are absorbing more carbon dioxide than ever as greenhouse gas emissions increase on land. "The chemistry is very simple. It is 101. Carbon dioxide makes the water more acidic, that is irrefutable," said Oregon State University professor of oceanography Burke Hales. Oyster farmers Mark Wiegardt and Sue Cudd of Tilamook, Oregon's Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery called in Hales and his team when their larvae suddenly started dying. The hatchery's 8,000 gallon tanks were pumping in water from the Pacific Ocean, which turned out to be increasingly acidic. But the oysters aren't alone. Clams, mussels, lobsters, shrimp and smaller-shelled sea creatures are all forming weaker shells due to the increased ocean pH dissolving calcium carbonate, the material that allows shells to harden or calcify. "At first, scientists thought, oh, isn't this great, the ocean's taking up carbon dioxide that's resulting in less greenhouse warming. And it's only later that scientists realize this carbon dioxide in the oceans forms carbonic acid, and that attacks the shells of marine organisms," explains Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institute at Stanford University.
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, death spiral, carbon emissions]

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'Doc Michael says:
Heck, it's just the ocean. Besides, we're diluting it with melting icecaps. That'll take care of the problem, right?

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