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Posted Sat Jul 27 2013: from Forbes:
Baby Oysters In 'Death Race' With Acidifying Oceans
Scientists at Oregon State University have pinpointed a reason for the mysterious die-offs of young oysters in the Pacific Northwest, a phenomenon that threatens the survival of one of America's prime seafood delicacies. Pacific oyster larvae, two days old or younger, are among the shellfish most at risk as the oceans become more acidic, according to a study released in a June issue of Geophysical Research Letters. The release of carbon into the atmosphere, caused by humans' burning of fossil fuels, is in turn adding carbon to the ocean, changing its chemistry and endangering entire marine food webs. During the first two days of life, an oyster's prime directive is to build a shell of calcium carbonate to protect itself against predators. To do this, it relies entirely on energy from its own egg, as it has not yet developed the ability to feed.... Many of America's favorite seafoods, including mussels, crabs, scallops, abalone and lobster, are at risk for perishing in coming decades as their shells fail to develop properly in more acidic ocean water. The scourge also affects tiny plankton that are the base of the food web that produces prized Alaskan salmon.
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, death spiral, massive die-off, ecosystem interrelationships]
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