Maine Among States Most Threatened by Ocean Acidification: Study

Feb 23, 2015

A new study funded by the National Science Foundation indicates that the effects of the rapid acidification of the world's oceans is more widespread than previously believed, and that Maine is among the 15 most threatened states.

Lisa Suatoni, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says fossil fuel emissions and rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide are causing the oceans to become more acidic. She says this makes it more difficult for creatures with calcium carbonate shells, such as clams, mussels, scallops and oysters, to survive.
 
"What the research shows is that baby bivalves are particularly vulnerable," Sautoni says. "If they don't have enough carbonate, an important shell-building material, in their first few days of life, they don't make it."

Suatoni says acidification will not only harm ocean creatures, it will put peoples' livelihoods at risk. The assessment was published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.