Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ocean acidification linked with larval oyster failure in hatcheries

Date:
April 13, 2012
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
A study by the scientists found that increased seawater carbon dioxide levels, resulting in more corrosive ocean water, inhibited the larval oysters from developing their shells and growing at a pace that would make commercial production cost-effective.

Oysters at hatcheries in Oregon are showing the effects of ocean acidification.
Credit: OSU

Marine researchers have definitively linked the collapse of oyster seed production at a commercial oyster hatchery in Oregon to an increase in ocean acidification.

Related Articles


Larval growth at the hatchery declined to a level considered by the owners to be "non-economically viable."

A study by the scientists found that increased seawater carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, resulting in more corrosive ocean water, inhibited the larval oysters from developing their shells and growing at a pace that would make commercial production cost-effective.

As atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise, this may serve as the proverbial canary in the coal mine for other ocean acidification impacts on shellfish.

Results of the research are published this week in the journal Limnology and Oceanography, published by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO).

The research was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Ocean Acidification solicitation.

"Studies funded by NSF's SEES Ocean Acidification solicitation are well-positioned to determine the specific mechanisms responsible for larval mortality in Pacific Northwest oyster hatcheries," said David Garrison, program director in NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences.

"This is one of the first times that we have been able to show how ocean acidification affects oyster larval development at a critical life stage," said Burke Hales, an Oregon State University (OSU) chemical oceanographer and co-author of the paper.

"The predicted rise of atmospheric CO2 in the next two to three decades may push oyster larval growth past the break-even point in terms of production."

The owners of Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery at Oregon's Netarts Bay experienced a decline in oyster seed production several years ago and looked at potential causes, including low oxygen and pathogenic bacteria.

Alan Barton, who works at the hatchery and is a co-author of the journal article, was able to eliminate those potential causes and shifted his focus to ocean acidification.

Barton sent samples to OSU and to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory for analysis.

The results clearly linked the production failures to the CO2 levels in the water in which the larval oysters were spawned and spent the first 24 hours of their lives. That first day is a critical time when the oysters develop from fertilized eggs to swimming larvae and build their initial shells.

"The early growth stage for oysters is particularly sensitive to the carbonate chemistry of the water," said George Waldbusser, a benthic ecologist at OSU.

"As the water becomes more acidified, it affects the formation of calcium carbonate, the mineral in shells. As the CO2 goes up, the mineral stability goes down, ultimately leading to reduced growth or to mortality."

Commercial oyster production on the West Coast of North America is a 273-million-dollar industry each year. It has depended since the 1970s on oyster hatcheries for a steady supply of the seed used by growers.

In recent years, the hatcheries that provide most of the seed for West Coast growers have suffered persistent production problems.

At the same time, non-hatchery wild stocks of these oysters also have shown low recruitment, putting additional strain on a limited seed supply.

Hales said that Netarts Bay, where the Whiskey Creek hatchery is located, experiences a wide range of chemistry fluctuations.

The researchers believe that hatchery operators may be able to adapt to take advantage of periods when water quality is at its highest.

"In addition to the impact of seasonal upwelling, the water chemistry changes with the tidal cycle and with the time of day," Hales said. "Afternoon sunlight, for example, promotes photosynthesis in the bay. That production can absorb some of the carbon dioxide and lower the corrosiveness of the water."

The researchers also found that larval oysters showed a delayed response to the water chemistry, which may cast new light on other experiments looking at the impacts of ocean acidification on shellfish.

In the study, they found that larval oysters raised in water that was acidic, but non-lethal, had significantly less growth in later stages of their life.

"The takeaway message here is that the response to poor water quality isn't always immediate," said Waldbusser.

"In some cases, it took until three weeks after fertilization for effects from the acidic water to become apparent. Short-term experiments of just a few days may not detect the damage."

The research was also supported by NOAA and the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association.

Other authors of the journal article include Chris Langdon of OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center and Richard Feely of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alan Barton, Burke Hales, George G. Waldbusser, Chris Langdon, Richard A. Feely. The Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, shows negative correlation to naturally elevated carbon dioxide levels: Implications for near-term ocean acidification effects. Limnology and Oceanography, 2012; 57 (3): 698 DOI: 10.4319/lo.2012.57.3.0698

Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Ocean acidification linked with larval oyster failure in hatcheries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413122204.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2012, April 13). Ocean acidification linked with larval oyster failure in hatcheries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413122204.htm
National Science Foundation. "Ocean acidification linked with larval oyster failure in hatcheries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413122204.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Japan's Mt. Aso Volcano Spews Rocks

Raw: Japan's Mt. Aso Volcano Spews Rocks

AP (Nov. 28, 2014) — A volcano in southern Japan is spewing volcanic magma rocks. A regional weather observatory says this could be Mt. Aso's first magma eruption in 22 years. (Nov. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Ocean Acidification Linked to Larval Oyster Failure

Apr. 11, 2012 — Researchers have definitively linked an increase in ocean acidification to the collapse of oyster seed production at a commercial oyster hatchery in Oregon, where larval growth had declined to a ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins