Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Economy and nature predicted to suffer from more CO2: Ocean acidification harms shellfish

19.03.2007
In 2100, mussels and oysters are expected to calcify their shells 25 and 10 % slower than nowadays respectively.

This will be caused by the continued release and accumulation of CO2 in the air: one third of it will be absorbed by the ocean water, thereby making it more acid. Scientists of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) report in Geophysical Research Letters, together with a French colleague, on the potentially major consequences for aquaculture and coastal nature.

Following the acid rain issue, we now have to solve a new acid environmental problem: the oceans are turning sourer. Because of the growing anthropogenic emission of CO2, more of that greenhouse gas is going into the ocean. This carbonic acid gas is acidifying the surface water. The past two centuries of industrialisation showed a decrease of 0.1 unit of pH .The average acidity of the ocean level is presently just above 8. The sea absorbs 25 million tons of CO2 each day. If this continues at the same rate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a further decline of up to 0.35 by the end of the century. In such water the balance is tipping: calcification gets slower. Sea life that needs calcium carbonate for its shell (like mussels) or skeleton (like corals) are hindered. And at higher CO2 concentrations the mussel shell even dissolves, discovered NIOO biologist Frédéric Gazeau.

To test the effects of a high-CO2 world on shellfish, Gazeau and his colleagues from NIOO and France (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique / Université Pierre et Marie Curie) built a small sea in the lab. Exposure of the edible mussels (Mytilus edulis) and Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) to more acid conditions for a few hours resulted in immediate diminishing of shell calcification. These animals calcify to strengthen their shells and thereby their suit of armour. For those interested in the details: the additional CO2 causes a decrease of the degree of acidity (making the water more acid) and of the carbonate (CO32-) concentration in the water, and this impedes the deposition of calcium carbonate. ‘The mussels proved to be a lot more sensitive to rising CO2 levels than the oysters.’ The oysters are using another crystalline form of calcium carbonate for their shells.

In 2002 people around the world produced 11.7 million tons of shellfish, representing a value of 10.5 billion dollars. Almost 15 % of this concerned Pacific oyster or mussel. Because of this major economic importance a diminished yield of these species will have a large financial impact. Besides that, these species are invaluable for the biodiversity and nature in general along our shorelines. The so-called “ecosystem engineers” create the right underwater climate for other life at the spot. Also, shellfish are an important food source for birds.

Marine biologist Gazeau is now busy preparing the sequel to the shellfish experiment. ‘In this new and longer experiment we will follow mussels under several CO2 concentrations during some months. This way, we will be able to see if they can get used to the more acid conditions. That would reduce the damage to these animals.’ Another issue to study is the response of the more sensitive shellfish larvae to a more acid future sea.

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) studies the ecology of land, freshwater and brackish and seawater. The Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology in Yerseke studies life in the sea and in estuaries. The NIOO employs about 250 people and is the largest research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science (KNAW).

Froukje Rienks | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nioo.knaw.nl

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

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: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>