Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World Oceans Month Brings Mixed News for Oysters

13.06.2013
Ocean acidification inhibits shell formation, but interventions at hatcheries may offset some effects, scientists find

In World Oceans Month, there's mixed news for the Pacific Northwest oyster industry.


Research site in Netarts Bay, Oregon, at low tide; rows of bags contain seed oysters.

For the past several years, it has struggled with significant losses due to ocean acidification. Oyster larvae have had mortality rates high enough to render production no longer economically feasible.

Now a new study documents why oysters appear so sensitive to increasing acidity, but also offers some hope for the future.

It isn't necessarily a case of acidic water dissolving the oysters' shells, scientists say. It's water high in carbon dioxide altering shell formation rates, energy usage and, ultimately, the growth and survival of young oysters.

"The failure of oyster seed production in Northwest Pacific coastal waters is one of the most graphic examples of ocean acidification effects on important commercial shellfish," said Dave Garrison, program director in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences.

NSF funded the study through its Ocean Acidification Program, part of NSF's Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability programs.

"This research is among the first to identify the links among organism physiology, ocean carbonate chemistry and oyster seed mortality," said Garrison.

Results of the study are online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union.

"From the time eggs are fertilized, Pacific oyster larvae precipitate roughly 90 percent of their body weight as a calcium carbonate shell within 48 hours," said George Waldbusser, an Oregon State University marine ecologist and lead author of the paper.

"Young oysters rely solely on the energy they derive from the egg because they have not yet developed feeding organs."

During exposure to increasing carbon dioxide in acidified water, however, it becomes more energetically expensive for organisms like oysters to build shells.

Adult oysters and other bivalves may grow more slowly when exposed to rising carbon dioxide levels. But larvae in the first two days of life do not have the luxury of delayed growth.

"They must build their first shell quickly on a limited amount of energy--and along with the shell comes the organ to capture external food," said Waldbusser.

"It becomes a death race of sorts. Can the oyster build its shell quickly enough to allow its feeding mechanism to develop before it runs out of energy from the egg?"

The results are important, marine scientists say, because they document for the first time the links among shell formation rate, available energy, and sensitivity to acidification.

The researchers say that the faster the rate of shell formation, the more energy is needed. Oyster embryos building their first shells need "to make a lot of shell on short order," said Waldbusser.

"As the carbon dioxide in seawater increases, but before waters become corrosive, calcium carbonate precipitation requires more energy to maintain higher rates of shell formation during this early stage."

The researchers worked with Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Netarts Bay, Ore. They found that on the second day of life, 100 percent of the larval tissue growth was from egg-derived carbon.

"The oyster larvae were still relying on egg-derived energy until they were 11 days old," said Elizabeth Brunner of Oregon State University and a co-author of the paper.

The earliest shell material in the larvae contained the greatest amount of carbon from the surrounding waters.

Increasing amounts of carbon from respiration were incorporated into shells after the first 48 hours, indicating an ability to isolate and control the shell surfaces where calcium carbonate is being deposited.

Waldbusser notes that adult bivalves are well-adapted to growing shell in conditions that are more acidified, and have evolved several mechanisms to do so.

These include use of organic molecules to organize and facilitate the formation of calcium carbonate, pumps that remove acid from the calcifying fluids, and outer shell coatings that protect minerals to some degree from surrounding waters.

Waldbusser said that the results help explain previous findings at the Whiskey Creek Hatchery of larval sensitivity to waters that are high in carbon dioxide but not corrosive to calcium carbonate.

They also explain carryover effects later in larval life of exposure to high carbon dioxide, similar to human neonatal nutrition effects.

The discovery may be good news, scientists say, because there are interventions that can be done at hatcheries that may offset some of the effects of ocean acidification.

Some hatcheries have begun "buffering" water for larvae--essentially adding antacids to incoming waters--including the Whiskey Creek Hatchery and the Taylor Shellfish Farms in Washington.

The study provides a scientific foundation for the target level of buffering.

"You can make sure that eggs have more energy before they enter the larval stage," said Waldbusser, "so a well-balanced adult diet may help larval oysters cope better with the stress of acidified water."

Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF (703) 292-7734 cdybas@nsf.gov
Mark Floyd, Oregon State University (541) 737-0788 mark.floyd@oregonstate.edu
Peter Weiss, American Geophysical Union (202) 777-7507 pweiss@agu.org
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget was $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

nachricht How to detect water contamination in situ?
22.09.2016 | Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Paper – Panacea Green Infrastructure?

30.09.2016 | Event News

HLF: From an experiment to an establishment

29.09.2016 | Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity

30.09.2016 | Life Sciences

The structure of the BinAB toxin revealed: one small step for Man, a major problem for mosquitoes!

30.09.2016 | Life Sciences

Researcher creates a controlled rogue wave in realistic oceanic conditions

30.09.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>