Effects of ocean acidification researched

20 Sep 2012
Atlantic scallop. Credit: NOAA

Atlantic scallop. Credit: NOAA

NOAA has announced that three new research projects will receive funding totalling nearly $1.6m to examine the effects of ocean acidification on fisheries, and the coastal economies that depend upon them.

Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making it more acidic. Species as diverse as scallops and coral are vulnerable to ocean acidification, which can affect the growth of their shells and skeletons.

The first of the grants will go to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which will receive $682,000 to understand the connection between fluctuations of carbon dioxide levels and ocean scallop populations, harvest and economic conditions.

The State University of New York at Stony Brook will receive $533,000 to examine bay scallops and hard clams to determine acidification’s effects on each species and identify the most vulnerable regions of estuaries.

Finally, The University of Washington has been allocated $374,000 to study a large climate model with fish populations and economic models in order to predict ocean conditions and economic effects.

“Efforts to estimate the effect of ocean acidification on fishery populations will be valuable to our own work,” said Jonathan Hare, oceanography branch chief of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. “The goal is to incorporate the effects of ocean acidification into advice provided to the regional fishery management councils.”

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