Climate Change in the Pacific Region
Pacific Region

Ocean Acidification in the Pacific Northwest

High carbon dioxide causes increasingly acidic ocean water with cascading effects for the aquaculture industry and the marine food web. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere mixes with ocean water and decreases the pH. Many marine animals depend on the ocean chemistry balanced in a way so they can build body parts out of calcium carbonate. When the pH decreases and becomes more acidic these animals shells are eroded away before they can grow, causing deformation and/or death. Many animals can be effected by this, but some most obvious include ones we like to eat, such as mussels and oysters. The aquaculture industry depends on being able to grow these animals to sell to restaurants and markets, and with rising acidity these farmers are finding it harder and harder to grow young shellfish and keep their businesses running. Its not just humans that like to eat animals with calcium carbonate shells, but many marine animals of all sizes that form the bases of the food chain for marine fishes and mammals that are at risk if this valuable food source decreases.

Learn more and find out about the science behind these climate effects by checking out the papers and reports below:


Last updated: March 7, 2013

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