Oh noes! The abalone must be saved so we can eat it!

Image of abalone in water containing 1,800 ppm CO2 is an example showing abnormal shell development.

From the University of British Columbia: Endangered Gourmet Sea Snail Could be Doomed by Increasing Ocean Acidity

Increasing levels of ocean acidity could spell doom for British Columbia’s already beleaguered northern abalone, according to the first study to provide direct experimental evidence that changing sea water chemistry is negatively affecting an endangered species.

The northern abalone–prized as a gourmet delicacy–has a range that extents along the North American west coast from Baja California to Alaska. Even though British Columbia’s northern abalone commercial fisheries where closed in 1990 to protect dwindling populations, the species has continued to struggle, largely due to poaching.

To better understand the impact climate change — and specifically, increasing ocean acidity — has on this endangered species, UBC researchers exposed northern abalone larvae to water containing increased levels of CO2. Increases from 400 to 1,800 parts per million killed 40 per cent of larvae, decreased the size of larvae that did survive, and increased the rate of shell abnormalities.

“This is quite bad news, not only in terms of the endangered populations of abalone in the wild, but also the impact it might have on the prospects for aquaculture and coastal economics,” says Christopher Harley, Associate Professor with the Department of Zoology and one of the authors of the study.

“And because the species is already thought to be limited by reproductive output and recruitment, these effects are likely to scale up to the population level, creating greater limits on population growth.”

Average CO2 levels in the open ocean hover at 380 parts per million, a number which is excepted to increase slowly over the next century.

What concerns the researchers are the much higher spikes in dissolved CO2 that are already being observed along the BC coast, particularly in late spring and early summer when northern abalone populations are spawning.

The findings were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

“While we’re looking at a single species that is culturally important as a source of food and artistic inspiration for many coastal Pacific Northwest First Nations, this information may have implications for other abalone species in other parts of the world,” says Ryan Crim, lead author on the paper who conducted the research while a graduate student with the UBC Department of Zoology.

Other species of abalone are farmed around the world, principally in China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. The black, white and pink abalone are also endangered on the west coast–red abalone are still an economically viable food species.

The study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and conducted in collaboration with the Bamfield-Huu-ay-aht Community Abalone Project, a small abalone hatchery in Bamfield which has subsequently gone out of business. The dual mission of the hatchery was to produce cultured abalone for high end restaurants, and to restore endangered abalone by culturing and releasing larvae and juveniles to the wild.

Harley and Crim will continue to work with the aquaculture industry to study the effects of acidification on oysters and other shellfish.

Paper:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022098111000499 (paywalled)

Advertisements

103 thoughts on “Oh noes! The abalone must be saved so we can eat it!

  1. I wonder if Canadian Abalone tastes better than Mexican Abalone? We will never know (legally at least) about American Abalone as it is illegal to catch and eat. But having eaten some Mexican Abalone (10 feet from the border no less), I can tell you it is not worth saving. It is not bad – just not worth the effort.
    The shells are neat though!

  2. Somebody remind these clowns that the measurement of saltwater pH is inherently limited in accuracy to +/- 0.2, NOT 0.02, as they seem to blithely assume. Also remind them that there’s no coral equivalent to a Physicians’ Diagnostic Manual, providing unequivocal indications that any particular reef is troubled by acidification and nothing else.
    Don’t you get tired of the AGW chorus? The endless parade of corrupt temp records, misinterpreted wild-life statistics, phony computer models, and like the cherry on the cake, the dreaded ocean acidification. The more their errors are uncovered the more they double down with their sick propaganda and yellow journalism.
    In case you haven’t noticed, they’re winning the war of minds at the grade-school level, with all-encompasing leftist indoctrinatin having successfully replaced education. Just wait a generation and presto!, no more skeptics.

  3. Did the researchers then test the descendants of the survivors? I suspect that the 40% survival rate would have climbed substantially….
    And 1800 ppm? At the present rate of CO2 increases (0.6%/yr), it will take 240 years to get to 1500 ppm.

  4. This seems to be an amazingly arrogant attitude. “…it is not worth saving…just not worth the effort”
    Is the concern we should have for the natural environment now predicated on whether the animals and plants nearing extinction are tasty or not?
    Perhaps ‘PhilJourdan’ is making a joke.

  5. Why not study a doubling of CO2? Why 1800 ppm, a level that probably is unrealistically high?

  6. Heaven forbid that I’ll be short some abalone shell to use as inlay on my musical instruments. What gets me is that they artificially spike the seawater to 1400 ppm…implying that there might be a one-to-one correlation between 380 ppm in a gas and 380 ppm in a liquid. Isn’t that like comparing apples to oranges chemically? As for the late spring and early summer spikes, could they be overlooking the humic and carbonic acids shed from the coast mountains snowpack as it melts? The whole region is bordered by a rain forest, whose ongoing decomposition would release large amounts of these substances as the spring runoff spiked. I betcha.
    I’m not buying the ocean-acidification crock at all. With 60,000 kilometers of mid-ocean ridges exhaling superheated acidified waters and rainforest runoff spiking the cocktail worldwide, a dumb 380, 0r 400, or 1000 ppm of ATMOSPHERIC CO2 is not going to make a snort of difference.
    FAIL

  7. PhilJourdan says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:07 am “American Abalone as it is illegal to catch and eat.”
    Really? Do you have a source on that? I am just curious how they can enforce it? Or, do you mean it illegal to commercially catch and eat?

  8. Just how many 100 million years has the northern abalone been around ?
    During that time how many CO2 cycles have their been ?

  9. Erik Ramberg says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:19 am
    Perhaps ‘PhilJourdan’ is making a joke.

    or perhaps PhilJourdan just does not believe that man is capable of playing God effectively or efficiently.

  10. It will take centuries to reach 1800 ppm. There will be plenty of adaptive evolution over 100s of generations. I bet they chose 1800 because 500 ppm has absolutely no effect.

  11. You demand empirical evidence we are damaging the planet, but when you get some you simply dismiss it. Amazing.

  12. I wold be willing to bet that this study fudged a few things to get the result they wanted. One wonders if the C02 was added all at once with little time for the organisms to adjust to the new conditions, or if other factors were at play. One thing is certain, that 1800 ppm number is what it took for them to get the results they needed, and not a number found in any normal habitat. I noticed that they did not quantify the “much higher spikes” in dissolved co2 being found in the environment. I wonder why?

  13. Mike,
    This was not an empirical [real world] experiment. It was an artificial construct intended to reach a preconceived conclusion. They had to go out to a preposterous 1,800 ppmv to find these minor changes, which are at best questionable.

  14. Erik Ramberg says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:19 am
    Perhaps ‘PhilJourdan’ is making a joke.

    Actually, that’s exactly what I assumed. I took “not worth the effort” to mean “not worth the price”.

  15. A sign that the abalone have been here for a long time is that you can find them pretty much everywhere in the oceans.
    To extrapolate the survival of a specie based on a poorly designed lab experiment is showing a lack of scientific rigor. Where on earth could the CO2 concentration go from 380 ppm to 1800 ppm instantly… wow! Of course there would be a lot of mortality. What is amazing is that 40$ survived. Now, give those shells time to adapt to a realistic scenario of global CO2 concentration rise and it is highly possible that they could actually do better.

  16. You would have to excuse my skepticism of them being impartial scientists when they use unscientific essentially meaningless and intentionally inflammatory speech like “could be doomed”. They could benefit greatly from it also. The CO2 in the water isn’t 380 ppm. That is what it is in the atmosphere. In the ocean it typically exists as carbonates which is what its shell is made of. If they expose a relatively small amount of water to unrealistically high atmosphere CO2, it is not surprising that they might cause problems with some of the larva. The extra calcium and buffers in an open ocean would probably translate that into increased shell growth. At least they didn’t just add hydrochloric acid to the water and then claim they were doomed. That still doesn’t translate to the open ocean even if we could raise the atmospheric CO2 to 1800 ppm. If they are ignorant enough to use such unscientific speech, they are probably not scientific enough to control the other variables.
    That is what passes for science these days? It sounds more like a political speech from a twelve year old.
    I am sure they aren’t biased. It isn’t like their job of restoring abalone doesn’t depend on them being threatened. /sarc

  17. I have no idea if PhilJourdan was joking or not, but even if he was I’m in favor of his post. Survival of the Tastiest. That’s the way to save an endangered species.

  18. Just for your information:
    “…1.5 inch abalone may spawn 10,000 eggs or more at a time, while an 8 inch abalone may spawn 11 million or more……………….. abalone and most mollusks are prolific spawners but the natural mortality still probably exceeds 99%…”
    ¿what are these guys talking about the 40%?

  19. From 400 to 1800 ppm of CO2?
    Over what period of time?
    Never mind the abalone – what effect would that have on MAN?
    How would those scientists react if they were immersed in water with a 1800 ppm CO2 level?
    Probably have a much higher mortality rate…

  20. Any time fish, and probably mollusks, are subjected to a rapid change in their environment, there tends to be a die-off, based on my limited experience with tropical fish. I suspect Abalone would not respond well to a rapid change in the chemistry of their water. A slow change, over a number of generations, would undoubtedly result in an entirely different outcome.
    Anyway, it’s likely that pollution, disease, predators, and over-fishing are the primary cause of any current decline. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S_Ej6uc6sw

  21. Eric Gisin says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:44 am
    It will take centuries to reach 1800 ppm. There will be plenty of adaptive evolution over 100s of generations. I bet they chose 1800 because 500 ppm has absolutely no effect.
    if anyone is taking votes, I vote with Eric Gisin on this puppy. I have worked with lots of folks in bio labs. most of the time, the goal is to get something, anything, published. the fact that it may be some useless BS will never be allowed to interfer with the job at hand.

  22. There’s no question that red and white abalone have both been decimated in shallower waters since the 1960s. What used to be free lunch for impecunious grad students with nothing more than a snorkel has now become superexpensive gourmet fare–if you can find it at all? What an irony of consumer demand!

  23. Mike says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:52 am
    You demand empirical evidence we are damaging the planet, but when you get some you simply dismiss it. Amazing.
    When we get some, I’ll let you know.
    If we boil the water I bet the survival rate goes down as well.
    Show me where Humans are causing 1800 ppm levels using empirical evidence.
    Show me how humans are measurably acidifying the oceans using empirical evidence to an accuracy of +/- 0.1 PH.
    Find another bridge troll.

  24. The paleo records clearly show that PH levels were less caustic in the past and shell fish survived very well, thank you very much.
    What these so called scientists forget is that not all abalone are the same. Some will carry the genes to thrive in lower PH oceans, some will carry the genes to survive in higher PH oceans. Having already survived both, they will adapt. In any case, no true scientist would refer to neutralization of a base as acidification.
    Really what we are discussing here is not abaloney, at is simply baloney.

  25. I found it interesting that this is associated with food sources. Fits quite well with the Bolivia/UN push for “rights” for the other inhabitants of the 3rd rock from the sun. Pretty soon we won’t be able to eat anything except each other. I’ll have my soylent green over easy, please.

  26. They’re talking about dissolved CO2, not pH. Ever hear of a buffered system? Personally I don’t believe it would be possible to “acidify” the ocean with any amount of CO2 that could be reasonably be achieved in the atmosphere.

  27. Some here are pointing out the silliness of the 1800 PPM number, but the 400 PPM number is just as silly. Do you guys have any idea of what it would take to rise the dissolved CO2 content of the HIGHLY buffered and organically active solution that is seawater up to 400 PPM?

  28. Mike says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:52 am
    “You demand empirical evidence we are damaging the planet, but when you get some you simply dismiss it.”
    Now see:-
    “Harley and Crim will continue to work with the aquaculture industry to study the effects of acidification on oysters and other shellfish.”
    This is empirical evidence of shameless employment of another facet of the AGW scam in order to save a couple more idiots having to get a real job.
    The new Canadian Govt. may however have better ways to waste tax money.

  29. The northern or pinto abalone is not endangered or concidered a delicacy. Commercial fishing has been closed due to declines but recreational fishing remains.
    The white abalone is. They ranged from southern california to Baja. Discovered in 1940 they were nearly fished out in 7 years. They were placed on the endangered species list in 2001.

  30. If it is an endangered species, why are they allowed to be eaten. Seems like the Sea otter population needs to be culled.

  31. It seems to me that in a real ocean exposed to an atmoshphere of elevated CO2, the increased rate of photosynthesis would more than offset the increase in bicarbonate concentration.
    I hope no Abalones were made to suffer during the course of this investigation.

  32. OK. For our next realistic experiment, let’s see how they do in boiling water.
    As a wise man once said, Ah baloney.

  33. My now ex-boss used to have a prawn farm. He fed his prawns on phytoplankton that he also farmed. To increase the yield of phytoplankton, he injected extra CO2 into the ponds. One of the things that made me sceptical of the recent claim that phytoplankton had declined 50% in the world’s oceans. The CO2 increase over the last century should have led to an increase.
    REPLY: It has, see this. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/24/the-earths-biosphere-is-booming-data-suggests-that-co2-is-the-cause-part-2/
    The claim of CO2 causing phytoplankton reduction is Alarmist BS – Anthony

  34. sky says:
    May 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm
    There’s no question that red and white abalone have both been decimated in shallower waters since the 1960s. What used to be free lunch for impecunious grad students with nothing more than a snorkel has now become superexpensive gourmet fare–if you can find it at all? What an irony of consumer demand!

    During the early colonial era, in Mass. it was forbidden in at least one town to force your indentured servants to eat lobster more than three times per week!

  35. Erik Ramberg says: May 25, 2011 at 11:19 am : “Is the concern we should have for the natural environment now predicated on whether the animals and plants nearing extinction are tasty or not?”
    That, or whether or not they’re cute.
    Sure.

  36. “Even though British Columbia’s northern abalone commercial fisheries where closed in 1990 to protect dwindling populations, the species has continued to struggle, largely due to poaching. [Next breath:]To better understand the impact climate change — and specifically, increasing ocean acidity — has on this endangered species, UBC researchers exposed northern abalone larvae to water containing increased levels of CO2.”
    Shutting down commercial fisheries seemed like a good idea, and Canadians sacrificed their freedom and their jobs and expanded government on the advice of “concerned researchers.” But theeeeeeeeen the law of unintended consequences kicked in and unfortunately poaching was a problem. And nooooooow, “concerned researchers” realize that the reeeeeeaaal problem is actually:
    [sound of opening envelope]
    your house and your car.

  37. “What concerns the researchers are the much higher spikes in dissolved CO2 that are already being observed along the BC coast, particularly in late spring and early summer when northern abalone populations are spawning.”
    OH No, CO2 is spiking in late spring!

  38. Victoria, B.C. has dumped raw sewage into the Juan de Fuca Strait since the founding of the city. In 2007 it was dumping 129 million litres per day.
    The environment report, by MacDonald Environmental Services in Nanaimo, showed years of flushing Greater Victoria’s toilets into the ocean has created contaminated seabed sites full of unsafe levels of toxins such as copper, mercury and lead. That report was released publicly July 26, 2006.
    http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/features/sewage/story.html?id=6944f801-be05-424b-939d-ea7896c00f59
    and from here:
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012735281_sewage27.html
    British Columbia officials said the government’s approval is a key step toward getting federal and regional money for the 782 million Canadian dollar ($738 million) project and allows them to meet a commitment to provide wastewater treatment by 2016.
    2016? Okay, then – I’ll pass on the B.C. seafood. I went this route as other’s comments have said many of the things I might have said.
    And for Mike @11:52 am: So many things damage the planet and we know for sure that they do (as raw sewage) and we know how to fix them. Research talent, money, and time are wasted on silly CO2 studies (1800 ppm ! ?) while other things get pushed aside. “Amazing” indeed.

  39. These guys so underestimate the power of evolution. You’d think they never heard of Punctuated Equilibrium (which requires high mortality).

  40. DesertYote says:
    Some here are pointing out the silliness of the 1800 PPM number, but the 400 PPM number is just as silly. Do you guys have any idea of what it would take to rise the dissolved CO2 content of the HIGHLY buffered and organically active solution that is seawater up to 400 PPM?
    ++++++++++
    Agreed. I am interested to know how much CO2 it would take to increase the well-mixed ocean from 380 to 400 ppm. I don’t think it would take only a few centuries, if it could be done at all, ever.
    This is from RealClimate of all places: “The natural pH of the ocean is determined by a need to balance the deposition and burial of CaCO3 on the sea floor against the influx of Ca2+ and CO32- into the ocean from dissolving rocks on land, called weathering. These processes stabilize the pH of the ocean, by a mechanism called CaCO3 compensation. CaCO3 compensation works on time scales of thousands of years or so. Because of CaCO3 compensation, the oceans were probably at close to their present pH of around 8 [where it is now – CiW] even millions of years ago when atmospheric CO2 was 10 times the present value or whatever it was.”
    So we need to know two things: how much CO2 would it take to increase from 380 to 400 ppm (remember the oceans weigh thousands of times as much as the atmosphere) and how much more would be needed to overcome all the buffering that could be accomplished by the time (many millenia) that the CO2 rose to 400 ppm.
    The article above is a silly as most of the rest of the article at RC. Have a look:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/07/the-acid-ocean-the-other-problem-with-cosub2sub-emission/
    I say it is silly because it correctly describes the mechanisms for ocean pH and then proposes an impossible, alarmist rate of CO2 gain with no real numbers included so you won’t see the sleight of hand.
    Further, the creation of 1800 ppm CO2 seawater: was the solution buffered properly as would have happened naturally? What happens to abalone when they live in realistic conditions of 1800 ppm, assuming it is possible to get there in the next couple of million years? And where will that massive amount of carbon-doxide come from? Venus? If you burned every cup of natural gas, litre of oil, kilo of coal and the twigs of every tree, it would not produce enough CO2 to bring seawater to 1800 ppm. Even at 1800 they only achieved LD40. I’d say the abalone is safe from everything except direct harvesting.

  41. And pray tell how do they match this up with global warming. If the water is warmer, it will not dissolve as much CO2 for a given pressure. Now if you pardon me, I will have a swig of 2 cents plain aka carbonic acid.

  42. Carl Bussjaeger:
    remember Limbaughs’ first rule of economics:
    if you want a critter to flourish, eat it on a commercial basis.
    C

  43. Hmmm, what was the atmospheric CO2 content when abalone first appeared?
    So far I have:

    Abalone is also one of the oldest living creatures on earth today. It first appeared in the prehistoric seas millions of years ago when the earth was still in her adolescence.

    and

    Abalone fossils have been dated back to over 100 million years ago, with the first abalone fossil dating from about 70 million years ago in what now is California

    CO2 levels were much higher 70-100 million years ago.
    I believe the abalone will do just fine, thank you.
    References: Lindberg 1992

  44. Erik Ramberg says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:19 am
    Is the concern we should have for the natural environment now predicated on whether the animals and plants nearing extinction are tasty or not?
    Sounds like a plan to me. /sarc

  45. Let’s put some numbers on this:
    It would take 1475 times as much CO2 as is in the atmosphere (752,000 Peta g) to bring the oceans up to 1800 ppm, and even then, that would be the average, with a much lower value near the surface. And it would have to be frozen solid, or better, to get that high.
    What planet are these people from?? It is really hard not to make ad hom remarks when faced with such nonsense.

  46. in the boiler world there is a situation in the water chemistry called “dissolved oxygen”. that is oxygen dissolved in the water that literally eats holes in the really important parts of the boiler.
    dissolved oxygen has been removed for nearly a century by cascading the water down a series of steps in a deareating feed tank (DFT or DA Tank) or through the use of spray patterns (exactly like the cone shaped pattern of a hand garden nozzle only much larger).
    true the temperature in the tank (at normal atmospheric pressure) is somewhat in excess of 164F but i am referring to the agitation present in the liquid/vapor.
    if this situation removes dissolved oxygen then wouldn’t agitation [granted over a longer period of time and a different temperature] remove the dissolved carbon dioxide thereby making the abalone thing a nonproblem ???
    C

  47. BravoZulu says on May 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm:
    In the ocean it typically exists as carbonates which is what its shell is made of. If they expose a relatively small amount of water to unrealistically high atmosphere CO2, it is not surprising that they might cause problems with some of the larva. The extra calcium and buffers in an open ocean would probably translate that into increased shell growth.
    About 99% of the CO2 that enters the ocean stays as CO2 molecules dissolved in the water. Any carbonic acid formed is neutralized by solid calcium and magnesium carbonates. The pH of the open ocean can never fall below ca 8 due to the buffering action of the massive amounts of solid calcium and magnesium carbonates on the ocean floor. There is very little carbonate ions in seawater, ca 8 mg per liter.
    Formation of carbonic acid:
    CO2 + H2O —> H2CO3
    Neutralization of carbonic acid:
    H2CO3 + CaCO3 —> Ca(HCO3)2
    By spiking the CO2 to such high levels in the air over the water, these guys suffocated the poor little larva and young adults.
    In recent times I have read several articles in the Vancouver Sun about poachers being nabbed with large amounts of abalone. Hungry sea otters are gobbling up lots of ablone also.

  48. ferd berple says:
    May 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm
    “What these so called scientists forget is that not all abalone are the same. Some will carry the genes to thrive in lower PH oceans, some will carry the genes to survive in higher PH oceans. Having already survived both, they will adapt. ”
    Maybe adaptation (in the sense of Darwinian mutation and selection) is not even necessary, but only a change in the methylation pattern of the genom; switching off some genes and switching on some others. Methylation patterns can be inherited but also modified by environmental influences; IOW parents could theoretically react on higher acidity and inherit this experience via the methylation. I know it sounds a bit like Lysenkoism but this time it seems to be true.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

  49. Ray says:
    May 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    They should do a study on the effect of prozac on abalone instead. Apparently prozac is really bad for mollusks even in the ppb.

    Now you are on to something. In our heavily medicated culture we have been passing substantial amounts of various medications into the sewers for years now. You’d think we’d be looking into whether there is any harm being caused. Look what happened with Diclofenac. That’s Voltaren for those that wonder. A medication widely available without a prescription that causes death in birds within 24 hours. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812785/
    But oh no. We are running around on bent knees wailing about carbon dioxide to the point where previously respectable centres for higher learning have to gas helpless molluscs with high doses of CO2 until they expire to “prove” a specious point. UBC is a joke.
    By the way, there is a thriving first nation industry in Abalone. Every restaurant owner in the Lower Mainland will tell you about trucks showing up at their back door loaded with various species of sea life that are banned to anyone else. I live in the heart of the so called native food fishery and can tell you it is anything but. I can get anything — including Sea Otter — if I want it. CO2 my sweaty backside!
    Shame on UBC!

  50. Charlie Foxtrot says:
    May 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm
    “Any time fish, and probably mollusks, are subjected to a rapid change in their environment, there tends to be a die-off, based on my limited experience with tropical fish. I suspect Abalone would not respond well to a rapid change in the chemistry of their water. A slow change, over a number of generations, would undoubtedly result in an entirely different outcome. ”
    Maybe also an effect of epigenetics in action.

  51. Mike says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:52 am
    “You demand empirical evidence we are damaging the planet, but when you get some you simply dismiss it. Amazing.”
    Somebody puts Abalone larvae into a mixture of water and CO2 in ridiculous amounts, and you call that evidence for anything that happens in the real world?
    You could just as well point to Venus and say this will happen on Earth next…
    Oh wait, you probably do… Nevermind.

  52. So poachers are decimating the species but AGW is the focus? No wonder abalone is endangered.

  53. Erik Ramberg says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Is the concern we should have for the natural environment now predicated on whether the animals and plants nearing extinction are tasty or not?

    I am quite sure there is a posh soiree going on in some multi zillion dollar home somewhere that is serving nothing but endangered species to give the guests a fuller sense of their power. Personally, I like to mow down on a nice fillet of Spotted Owl, or roasted Marbled Murrelet. Bald Eagle is quite tasty (I’m serious!) and Green Turtle soup is to die for!
    mmmmmmmmmmm… sea otter….

  54. They took CO2 to an unreasonable level, and only saw a 40% reduction???? Extrapolating down from unrealistic high numbers is just junk science. You don’t need a lab to show that at some level of acidity there will be negative effects, that is just common sense.
    Lethal dosage of radiation vs local differences in background radiation come to mind. How about the effects of one or two glasses of wine vs. 20 glasses of wine. The analogies of why this study is flawed are all around.

  55. …explains why there’s no abalone on Mars……
    Other than that, a total waste of time and money.

  56. “a small abalone hatchery in Bamfield which has subsequently gone out of business”
    “Harley and Crim will continue to work with the aquaculture industry to study the effects of acidification on oysters and other shellfish.”
    ===========================================================
    Try aerating your hatchery you nubnuts………………………

  57. Save the Abalone – hippys can’t be denied those cool shells. I had blue Abalone on Chatham Island, NZ in 1995. It’s OK, but gimme lobster any day!

  58. You’re never alone with an abalone.
    But when they’re extinct, you’re sinked.
    (Late apology to Ogden Nash)

  59. For their next study, they will assume the average water temperature in British Columbia goes up 10 degrees Celsius, and then document the effect on fish reproduction….

  60. Reporter: “Are the oceans more acidic”?
    Scientist pushing publicity for his pet research project funding: “Well, no, but they could be in the future”

  61. “Average CO2 levels in the open ocean hover at 380 parts per million, a number which is excepted to increase slowly over the next century.”
    This makes no sense. The 390 ppm is the CO2 in the atmosphere, not the ocean. By mass the solubility using a solubility constant of 0.002 and 0.000390 atm CO2, CO2 is about 34 ppb and by molecule it’s 14 ppb. Thus, any calculations that simply substitutes the atmospheric [CO2] will be a gross exaggeration; here, it looks like a 10,000-fold over-estimation. The solubility of CO2 is increased by its formation of carbonic acid and subsequent deprotonation but I see no way that this leads to a concentration exactly the same as in the atmosphere. It is just too pat an answer.

  62. Since “The species is struggling largely due to poaching” then acidity is the least of its worries.

  63. Harold Pierce Jr Says:
    “About 99% of the CO2 that enters the ocean stays as CO2 molecules dissolved in the water. Any carbonic acid formed is neutralized by solid calcium and magnesium carbonates. The pH of the open ocean can never fall below ca 8 due to the buffering action of the massive amounts of solid calcium and magnesium carbonates on the ocean floor. There is very little carbonate ions in seawater, ca 8 mg per liter.”
    The carbonates used to be CO2. All the limestone on the bottom of the oceans is carbonates. Limestone is magnesium and calcium carbonate. That is where the CO2 goes in the carbon cycle. The vast majority of the CO2 will end up as carbonates in the ocean and eventually limestone deposits . Some will end up as oil from dead animals and other organic matter falling in to the ocean floor especially in eutrification zones. Volcanoes would normally resupply the atmosphere with CO2. We were saying the same thing actually except the part about the CO2 remaining CO2. Increasing the CO2 would increase the carbonates of magnesium and calcium. There is many times as much of those ions as there is carbon dioxide. Carbon is sequestered either by organic matter falling to the ocean bottom, carbonates precipitating or in the shells and skeletons of living organisms.
    My point was that it was ridiculous to assume that an ocean is going to act the same as a pool exposed to very high CO2 which sounds like exactly what you were saying. It would probably be impossible for humans to raise CO2 that high in the first place with the ocean being there even if we tried. The carbonates in the ocean are mostly precipitated but there is vast quantities of them on the ocean floor. Increasing acidity or more precisely adding more acid would just increase the carbonates that are dissolved and that is what would probably help the abalone build its shells. More carbonates means that more is sequestered. Changing the pH probably has more to do with the effects of photosynthesis and decomposition than CO2 concentration.

  64. I’ve been keeping reef tank for over 20 years, currently I have 3 x 135 gallons, and a 75 gallon.
    My pH varies dramatically throughout the day, and all the fish and inverts are okay. The pH typically swings between 7.8 and 8.3 as lights come on, fish are fed, and other perfectly normal biological processes occur. Temperature varies by several degrees F too.
    I really don’t worry about pH swings, as the creatures I care for obviously don’t worry about it much either. A good argonite substrate and sufficient rock will assure that the pH never dips to harmful levels, analogous to the limestone in the world’s oceans. pH will never be acidic, it simply won’t happen again. Many aquarists actually run CO2 systems, purposefully injecting CO2 into the water column.
    Sure the pH of the oceans did use to be acidic, the same time all the shelled sea creatures were evolving: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/11/12/oldest-shrimp-world-oklahoma/
    Good luck debating that point Lubchenco as you attempt to restore credibility to NOAA.

  65. “Pompous Git says:
    May 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm
    My now ex-boss used to have a prawn farm. He fed his prawns on phytoplankton that he also farmed. To increase the yield of phytoplankton, he injected extra CO2 into the ponds. One of the things that made me sceptical of the recent claim that phytoplankton had declined 50% in the world’s oceans. The CO2 increase over the last century should have led to an increase.
    REPLY: It has, see this. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/24/the-earths-biosphere-is-booming-data-suggests-that-co2-is-the-cause-part-2/
    The claim of CO2 causing phytoplankton reduction is Alarmist BS – Anthony”
    The decline in ocean phytoplankton is believed to be due to warming causing slower overturning resulting in few nutrients circulating u0 from the deep ocean to the surface. Land plant production is increased through the 1990’s due to higher CO2 levels but has now dipped down because of increased drought as predicted.
    Global phytoplankton decline over the past century
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7306/abs/nature09268.html
    Drought-Induced Reduction in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 2000 Through 2009
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5994/940.short

  66. TrueNorthist says:
    May 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm
    This was my point. We all know that mollusks are natural filters. They will absorb every chemicals out there. And we all know that they don’t really remove chemicals from sewage. Those go through the system.
    Sewers are not what they used to be. People and companies throw everything in there from all sorts of chemicals and heavy metals too. This is why it was never a good idea from the beginning to spread it to farm lands. Carbon dioxide is really the last of a worry if we want to protect aquatic species.
    I don’t know why they actually got a grant to do this research.
    I am also in the Lower Mainland and wouldn’t mind having your contact. I am appalled that we live next to the ocean and have so little of it in our stores and markets.

  67. Average CO2 levels in the open ocean hover at 380 parts per million, a number which is excepted to increase slowly over the next century.

    I call BS. If they are static (‘hovering’) now with increasing CO2 in the air, why are they “expected to increase”? Given the sea contains about 5,000 molecules for every molecule of air, surely the air need to have 5,000 pmm added before the sea will increase by 1 pmm?
    I know it is continuous, but there is no prediction that we could release enough CO2 to go anywhere near 5,000 ppm, so how could the sea increase CO2 by more that 1 pmm? And how much pH difference would that make? Too little for anything to ever measure.
    The whole ‘ocean acidification’ alarm is a crock.

  68. Expose any organism to an excess of what it normally tolerates and it dies. Enough water will kill you. Pure oxygen will as well. This reminds me of the cancer scares of the last century. By golly, if you drank 100 bottles of Cyclamate loaded Gatorade every day, you might get cancer. You would explode first, but that didn’t count.
    1800 ppm? Proving that folks in the GWN subsidize stupid things with their taxes same as us yanks.

  69. pk says: May 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm : remember Limbaughs’ first rule of economics: if you want a critter to flourish, eat it on a commercial basis.
    L. Neil Smith pointed that out long before Limbaugh. I believe it’s in _The Probability Broach_ where a character enjoys an eagleburger, some Confederate entrepeneur having noticed that chickens are in no danger of extinction.

  70. TrueNorthist says:
    May 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm
    “By the way, there is a thriving first nation industry in Abalone. Every restaurant owner in the Lower Mainland will tell you about trucks showing up at their back door loaded with various species of sea life that are banned to anyone else. I live in the heart of the so called native food fishery and can tell you it is anything but. I can get anything — including Sea Otter — if I want it. CO2 my sweaty backside!
    Shame on UBC!”
    Got to find something else to blame any reductions on. Bit like the Fraser River salmon being sold on the black market by Indian organized crime.
    And the re-introduction of the sea otter has also had local effects. Which begs the question of what the ‘natural’ abalone pops were back when the coast was swimming with sea otters. Selective ignorance of history is one of the standard tricks of ‘Conservation Biologists.’ Lets them set fake baselines for fake comparisons.
    Yes. UBC. Some excellent faculties and then all the rest. They did, after all, give Dear Suzuki his start. And he was actually a great lecturer back then. Seems the rising CO2 levels, or something, have had serious impacts on him since.

  71. Of course we don’t want all or even most species to go extinct. But for the life of me I can’t figure out why we would want no species to ever go extinct. It seems to me that one of the ingredient needed for natural selection is for some species to go extinct. Are we that arrogant to think that only the exact combination of species that exist now are the best combination that could ever exist? Maybe some species need to be extinct for a more viable planet to evolve.

  72. Crispin in Waterloo
    May 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm
    The CO2 content of seawater is 90 ppm.
    http://www.seafriends.org.nz/oceano/seawater.htm
    ###
    Thanks for this. I was pretty sure that the real CO2 content of seawater was under 100 PPM, but I was unsure, and being at work did not have the bandwidth to do the research. My field use to be fresh water ecology, though I spent a lot of time mucking around estuaries and other brackish waters also.

  73. dp says:
    May 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm
    Thanks to Hawaiian friend Frank Delima I’ve been aware of the long goodbye of our little crustacean munchies friends for a long time.
    http://www.mele.com/hawaiianMP3s/2142_18.mp3
    Save the Opihi!

    It is nice to know that I am not the only with “please don’t eat me” running through my head reading this thread. 🙂

  74. To better understand the impact climate change — and specifically, increasing ocean acidity — has on this endangered species, UBC researchers exposed northern abalone larvae to water containing increased levels of CO2. Increases from 400 to 1,800 parts per million killed 40 per cent of larvae, decreased the size of larvae that did survive, and increased the rate of shell abnormalities.
    ===
    In order to appreciate the sensitivity of wiener dogs to high temperatures, we exposed one specimen for few days to + 200c and we can report with certainty that increasing temperature can kill this species. This is bad news for the pet world in a warming climate…

  75. Retired Engineer says: (May 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm)
    “This reminds me of the cancer scares of the last century. By golly, if you drank 100 bottles of Cyclamate loaded Gatorade every day, you might get cancer. You would explode first, but that didn’t count.”
    Thank you for remembering this. In 1970 at Florida Inst of Tech I always enjoyed a cold Gatorade after an evening of basketball at the gym. After they outlawed the cylamates it has never tasted the same, something seems to be missing.

  76. DesertYote: I was reporting on the high side. The link shows that some say it is only 80 ppm. Either way, it is a bit tongue-in-cheek (i.e.: a lie) for the folks at California North to start at 400 and go to 1800.

  77. More joke science. They use S.E.M.(std. error of mean) instead of using standard deviation. The conclusions are not supported by the data presented in my opinion. All they demonstrated is that their handling of the organism killed it. The fact that a substantial number of the organisms died at their control level of 400ppm was disturbing. Also, they note that there are greater excursions of pH change already observed in the ocean, but their results don’t follow the real world.

  78. I might add I am a maniac on oceanic biologic preservation. This is absolute bull crap. They have a problem with poachers and not having oceanic clear zones. While most Americans assume Canada is a biologic “green” state, it is anything but. They have destroyed cod, halibut, abalone, lobster, salmon, and any other fishery you could think of with abandon. They are among the worst in the world when it comes to preserving oceanic resources. Right up there with the Brits and Spaniards. They also coddle poachers who encroach on American waters.

  79. The devil is in the details. Tans (Oceanography Vol.22, No.4 2009) concluded that based on realistic predicted consumption of fossil fuel reserves, that atmospheric CO2 concentrations will peak somewhere between 2029 to 2069 at ~500 – 600 ppm and then start declining as remaining fossil fuel reserves are exhausted.
    Since the observed effects on larval abalone were fairly small at 800 ppm CO2, one must conclude that the effects at 60 – 80 percent of the testing level will be even smaller to non-existent.
    In short, what a load of baloney !
    reference:
    http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/22_4/22-4_tans.pdf

  80. Mike, May 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm made claims that phytoplankton was decreasing due to Global Warming based on the following: Global phytoplankton decline over the past century http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7306/abs/nature09268.html
    and that NPP has decreased due to drought induced by global warming:
    Drought-Induced Reduction in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 2000 Through 2009 http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5994/940.short
    It appears that the first claim is incorrect and is slowly being walked back. See http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/on-plankton-warming-and-whiplash/?ref=science. I would also point out that SST is not increasing, but decreasing http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/03/global-sst-update-through-mid-march-2011/
    The second claim, that drought has increased between 2000 and 2009, reducing NPP, may be correct (I couldn’t find verification), but it is well known that droughts are cyclical. See http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=5275
    Land use changes are also a factor in NPP according to several sources.
    It appears, from reading a bit about NPP measurements, that they are based on models and that the methods used are evolving. Not a very exact calculation, apparently. Satellite data is now being generated, so check back in about 20 years.

  81. When I was a kid, we went on a field trip to a local limestone quarry (Milan, Illinois), which was under the sea during the Cretaceous. I think the limestone was several hundred feet thick. On a quarried shelf about 70 feet down in the rock, I cracked open a big chunk and found an abalone shell, about 8 inches across and with the string of breathing holes near the outer edge. That far down in the limestone was a long time ago, so abalone are a hardy species to have lasted this long.

  82. The University of Southampton, UK, did similar experiments and found shell problems, until it was discovered that they had introduced hydrochloric acid into the test tanks because the extra CO2 had no effect.
    Since oceans have survived higher atmospheric concentrations ofCO2 and experienced greater coral and shell growth at that time than today I find these results suspect or at least the conclusions wrong.

  83. “Calamari steak” makes a fair substitute for abalone. Actually, these are from cuttlefish, not squid. Having eaten both, I know that they are different critters. Lightly flour then flash fry in brown butter and make a pan sauce with garlic, shallot, lemon, white wine, and capers. Finish with Italian parsley, and serve over linguini with a green salad on the side. A Portuguese Vinho Verde goes well in the summer time. It ain’t abalone, but it ain’t bad!
    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  84. Mike who says: May 25, 2011 at 11:52 am “You demand empirical evidence we are damaging the planet, but when you get some you simply dismiss it. Amazing.”
    I am reminiscent of a time as a child when the coral reef die off was the fault of mans activity in the area only to find out that it was the cycle of el nino . . . warming of the water . . . . not man at all!
    Over and over it has been demonstrated that what many blame man for . . . . is simply a natural cycle . .
    “empirical evidence” of change is not evidence that “we are damaging the planet” . . . .
    Non sequitur (logic) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_sequitur_(logic)

  85. The ratio of atmosphere to oceans is about 0.4% by weight.
    An increase of 1400 ppm in atmospheric CO2 (from 400 ppm to 1800 ppm) would amount to a 6 ppm increase in CO2 in the oceans, allowing for equal mixing, on the one hand, and no adaptive capability, on the other.

  86. @Charlie Foxtrot says:
    Thanks for the dot Earth link. It does point to increased uncertainly in the 40% decline estimate. It does not support Watts’ claim that this estimate is “alarmist BS.”

  87. Now, this is funny. You try to prove that a specie cannot adapt to a doubling of CO2 in 100 years, so you make them go through a 4.5x increase in 1 hour. I’m pretty sure abalones did exist when CO2 was higher.
    They have not proven that any of these two hypothesis are false:
    1- An abalone can adapt to a doubling of CO2 every day.
    2- An abalone can live in up to 2x more CO2 than what existed when it was born.
    If any of these two hypothesis were true, abalones would be far from danger.

  88. I lived in San Diego many years ago.
    What we were taught is that abalone were eaten by starfish.
    The starfish, in turn, were eaten by sea otters.
    Poaching of sea otters interfered with the predator-prey balance.
    The net result was more starfish and fewer abalone.
    So tighter controls on sea otter poaching, and some reasonable fishing restriction, should preserve the abalone.
    In particular, abalone are particularly susceptible to damage from the bottom trawlers, which gouge out everything on the sea floor.
    How about simply banning the bottom trawlers?

  89. I must say that I find it disheartening to read of AGW-skeptics expressing indifference or even animosity toward other species.
    I don’t see anything funny about anthropogenic extinctions, or impending or near-extinctions of other species, regardless of how stupid a peer-reviewed paper might be. Other species are not here for humans’ pleasure. And causing other species to go extinct does not contribute any “ingredient needed for natural selection” .
    I would wish that WUWT were not a magnet of such opinions or attitudes. Silly me.

Comments are closed.