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Acidification, predators pose double threat to oysters
Date:1/15/2014

rth of San Francisco, young snails emerge from egg capsules at about the same time of year that juvenile oysters settle from the plankton and grow into adults. Sanford and colleagues raised both oysters and snails in the lab to simulate this process under present-day conditions and with levels of carbon dioxide forecast for 2100.

They found that oysters raised under high carbon dioxide were smaller, but did not have thinner shells than oysters reared under present-day conditions. The snails were not affected by high carbon dioxide, but ate 20 percent more oysters under these conditions.

"It's like if you go out for tacos," Sanford said. "If the tacos are smaller, you're going to eat more of them."

The experiment was based on the average acidity of the oceans. However, as the overall acidity of the ocean rises, short-term fluctuations mean that locations like Tomales Bay are already experiencing peaks of acidity similar to those used in the experiment.

Apart from their culinary delights, oysters perform important ecosystem services, for example filtering material out of the water, and there have been growing efforts to restore their populations along the West Coast, including in San Francisco Bay. But the new work shows that the combination of climate change and invasive predators may make restoration increasingly difficult.


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Contact: Andy Fell
ahfell@ucdavis.edu
530-752-4533
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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