Crab Larvae Off Northwest Suffer Shell Damage From Ocean Acidification

“Ocean acidification is damaging the shells of young Dungeness crab in the Northwest, an impact that scientists did not expect until much later this century, according to new research.

A study released this week in the journal Science of the Total Environment is based on a 2016 survey of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia coastal waters that examined larval Dungeness. The findings add to the concerns about the future of the Dungeness as atmospheric carbon dioxide — on the rise due to fossil-fuel combustion — is absorbed by the Pacific Ocean and increases acidification.

“If the crabs are affected already, we really need to make sure we start to pay attention to various components of the food chain before it is too late,” said Nina Bednarsek, the lead author among 13 contributing scientists. The study was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).”

Hal Bernton reports for the Seattle Times January 24, 2020.