The World Will Not Be Your Oyster for Long

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the latest to realize that its famed oyster and clam harvests are increasingly at risk from risinc ocean acidity.

An August 15 front page above the fold article in the SF Chronicle laid out the ugly findings.

About 10 years ago, baby oysters, or spat, began to die at an alarming rate. Farms along the West Coast lost more than half of their bivalves before they reached maturity, creating a shortage of seed. That deficit hit Hog Island Oyster Co. in Marshall especially hard

… That culprit, ocean acidification, is the caustic cousin of climate change, and it shifts the chemistry of ocean water, making it harder for oysters to grow. That’s because about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, causing pH levels to plummet and making the water more acidic. The more pollution in the air, the more carbon dioxide the ocean absorbs.

climate change clams-hi

Back in February, regional newspapers from the Chesapeake Bay and New Orleans picked up on the new study from Nature Climate Change that ocean acidification was going to have major economic impact on their bi-valve farms and the communities that depended on them.

Climate Change Bi Valve Vulnerability


In 2012 a meeting of scientists in Monterey, California took up the issue.

In 2010, Science, the magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science had a long scholarly article which, despite its academic restraint, was terrifying.

The Impact of Climate Change on the World’s Marine Ecosystem. 

Just for starters:

Recent studies indicate that rapidly rising greenhouse gas concentrations are driving ocean systems toward conditions not seen for millions of years, with an associated risk of fundamental and irreversible ecological transformation. The impacts of anthropogenic climate change so far include decreased ocean productivity, altered food web dynamics, reduced abundance of habitat-forming species, shifting species distributions, and a greater incidence of disease… [link]