Oyster crisis: Yale 360 eco-activist author Elizabeth Grossman wrong again about ocean acidification

I remember during my tour of Australia last year, when our talk was rudely interrupted by the king of reef madness, Ove Hugh-Guldberg, my co-presenter David Archibald quipped from the dais, paraphrasing Samuel Johnson, that “ocean acidification is the last refuge of the global warming scoundrel.

Today’s scare story about oysters disappearing due to atmospheric induced ocean acidification is a perfect example of this.

We see this terrifying headline from Yale 360 environmental forum today:

Massive Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has Arrived

The claim is right out of the “ocean acidification is going to kill the entire food chain” playbook, bolding mine:

But this rural coastal spot and the shellfish it has nurtured for centuries are a bellwether of one of the most palpable changes being caused by global carbon dioxide emissions — ocean acidification.

It was here, from 2006 to 2008, that oyster larvae began dying dramatically, with hatchery owners Mark Wiegardt and his wife, Sue Cudd, experiencing larvae losses of 70 to 80 percent. “Historically we’ve had larvae mortalities,” says Wiegardt, but those deaths were usually related to bacteria. After spending thousands of dollars to disinfect and filter out pathogens, the hatchery’s oyster larvae were still dying.

Finally, the couple enlisted the help of Burke Hales, a biogeochemist and ocean ecologist at Oregon State University. He soon homed in on the carbon chemistry of the water. “My wife sent a few samples in and Hales said someone had screwed up the samples because the [dissolved CO2 gas] level was so ridiculously high,” says Wiegardt, a fourth-generation oyster farmer. But the measurements were accurate. What the Whiskey Creek hatchery was experiencing was acidic seawater, caused by the ocean absorbing excessive amounts of CO2 from the air.

The only thing missing is equating oysters to canaries in coal mines. A typical staple of such types of stories. Bellwether was used instead, but you get the idea.

When you have a look at who’s writing this, you see a pattern:

Elizabeth Grossman is the author of Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry, High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health, and other books. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Salon, The Washington Post, The Nation, Mother Jones, Grist, and other publications.

In nutshell, with a publication record like that, I wouldn’t trust this woman with any sort of factual writing anymore than I’d trust activist Bill McKibben. So, I went looking to see if her claims held up. It didn’t take long to discover that her claim of “…acidic seawater, caused by the ocean absorbing excessive amounts of CO2 from the air…” was totally bogus.

First I decided to have a look at the Whiskey Creek oyster hatchery itself. It seems it has been touted as a success story:

Note that they are using tanks, with seawater drawn in from the estuary. Grossman bemoans the fact that the water has to be treated for use in the aquaculture tanks. Apparently, atmospheric induced ocean acidification is happening so fast that they just can’t keep up:

The situation at the hatcheries has improved substantially in the past couple of years, thanks largely to an ongoing, intensive scientific monitoring effort and to measures to control the pH of seawater in the tanks where oyster larvae are raised. But ocean acidification continues apace, which makes understanding what’s been happening to Whiskey Creek oysters vital to grasping what will eventually threaten every ocean organism that builds a shell or coral branch.

Yes, it’s relentless and all that. The world’s oceans depend on what’s happening in some aquaculture tanks in Oregon. /sarc

Trying to get past the wailing and gnashing of teeth over some oyster larvae that didn’t make it out of the tanks, we find the source of the issue isn’t new, and was highlighted in a 2009 report at the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association:

http://www.pcsga.org/pub/science/Emergency_Seed_Proposal_Indesign-1.pdf

Emergency Plan to Save Oyster Production on the West Coast

January, 2009

A Collaborative Proposal Prepared by the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, Whiskey Creek Hatchery, Taylor Hatchery, Pacific Shellfish Institute, Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association, Lummi Indian Tribe Hatchery, U.S. Department of Commerce (NOAA Aquaculture Program), Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (ARS and CSREES), Oregon State University, AquaTechnics, Inc., and the Nature Conservancy

The Problem:

For the past three years, water quality conditions in the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon and Washington coasts; and adjacent highly productive estuaries including Puget Sound, Willapa Bay, and Netarts Bay, have severely impacted hatchery production of seed oysters upon which both large and small farms depend. Simultaneously, wild sets of oyster seed that make up the back-bone of the oyster industry in Willapa Bay, the single largest oyster producing region on the West Coast, have been virtually non-existent for the past four years.

These conditions have led to dire economic consequences for two of the four hatchery operators that produce oyster seed for farmers, including the largest producer of oyster larvae on the West Coast, Whiskey Creek Hatchery, which accounts for approximately 75% of all larvae utilized by farmers. The environmental conditions contributing to the lack of wild seed set presents an even more challenging problem.

So yes, there’s a real problem, but the issue that’s bogus is the claimed cause: “…acidic seawater, caused by the ocean absorbing excessive amounts of CO2 from the air…”

Um, no. From the same 2009 report, bolding mine:

Identified water quality/hatchery problems:

Shellfish hatcheries have historically used coarsely filtered but otherwise untreated seawater for larval culture with few problems, and larval shellfish have thrived in water in the Pacific Ocean and coastal estuaries. Upwelling of deep, cold, nutrient-rich water from the continental shelf off the coast of Oregon and Washington is typical during summer months in this region and drives high primary productivity.

Since 2003, however, higher than normal upwelling increased the extent and intensity of intrusions of deep acidic, hypoxic water off the Oregon and Washington coasts, and contributed to the formation of persistent dead zones. These events have resulted in fundamental changes in the character of our coastal bays, which contribute to high larval mortality throughout the entire year.

These fundamental changes in seawater quality influence a host of complex chemical interactions, many of which are not fully understood. However, recent research has identified at least four potential stressors that adversely affect shellfish larvae:

• Larval and juvenile shellfish are highly sensitive to acidic (low pH) seawater because their shells are formed from calcium carbonate, and dissolves when pH is low.

Because this hypoxic and relatively acidic up-welled water is coming from deep basins and is cold (8 – 10 oC), it is saturated with dissolved gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen while at the same time being low in oxygen as a result of biological decomposition in the benthic zone. When hatcheries heat this gas-saturated seawater to 25 – 28 oC in order to meet the temperature requirements of young shellfish, the seawater becomes super-saturated. Preliminary experiments indicate that oyster larvae are very sensitive to gas super-saturation under these conditions.

• A third problem for shellfish hatcheries is the recent increase in the prevalence of a pathogenic bacterium (Vibrio tubiashii or Vt) that seems to out-compete other, more benign species in this distorted environment. Vt infections are lethal to shellfish larvae and juveniles. High levels of mortality in shellfish hatcheries and in the wild have been associated with high levels of Vt in 2006, 2007, and intermittently in previous years, such as in 1998 when environmental conditions favored disease outbreaks.

• There is potential for further stress to oyster seed given the difference between water conditions in the hatcheries where larvae are produced, and quality of water found in the remote settings where larvae set onto cultch (“mother shell”) are planted in the natural environment for grow-out.

So, in summary the causes are:

1. Deep water upwelling, bringing colder more CO2 saturated water to the surface is the root cause. Colder water holds more CO2, it is basic chemistry.

That deep benthic ocean water doesn’t interact with the atmosphere, but it is brought to the surface by changes in ocean current patterns such as ENSO and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which have nothing to do with the small (20 Parts Per Million) global increase in atmospheric CO2 in the last decade.

2. Heating of the water to make it suitable for tank aquaculture. They get the soda pop bottle on a warm day effect. The oyster larvae don’t like that. No surprise there.

3. A periodic pathogenic bacterium Vibrio tubiashii which seems to follow ocean patterns. What happened in 1998? Oh yeah, the biggest El Niño in modern times.

4. Stress with relocation into a different water environment. Anybody who has ever bought tropical fish, especially salt water fish, knows this problem.

It seems “…acidic seawater, caused by the ocean absorbing excessive amounts of CO2 from the air…” isn’t in this report.

Let’s have a look at the current ocean surface temperatures around Oregon:

It seems Oregon is smack dab in the middle of a double whammy right now of La Niña and cold phase of the PDO. Recall that in 2008, just before the “Emergency report” was prepared by the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association there was also a deep La Niña in the Pacific. What did it look like then? Have a look:

Yep, colder. No surprise there.

For completeness I should note there’s a mention of “global warming induced ocean acidification” in the report, but it is ancillary and not listed as a direct cause of the current oyster aquaculture crisis in Oregon.

These adverse environmental conditions – low pH, gas super-saturation, high Vt infections, and the associated complex effects on seawater chemistry – constitute a “perfect storm” for Pacific Northwest shellfish hatcheries and growers that depend on natural set oyster seed, bringing the industry to the brink of collapse. It is not understood how these, and likely other, stressors interact, but it is clear that these factors are somehow combining to decimate shellfish larvae and juveniles. To further illustrate the seriousness of the situation, oceanographers such as Dr. Richard Feely, world-renowned NOAA expert on ocean acidification and global warming, predicts that oceanic conditions will not improve in the near term, potentially rendering shellfish hatcheries inoperable. This, combined with lack of wild seed set, will lead to the collapse of the oyster industry unless mitigation measures are developed and implemented immediately.

Feely’s opinion in this WWF document on ocean acidification seems to be a centered around the weasel word “could”, and concerns the future, rather than the present:

“…ocean acidification could affect some of the most fundamental biological and chemical processes of the sea in coming decades.”

So apparently, the Yale 360 headline claim of Massive Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has Arrived doesn’t agree with the position of the NOAA scientist on the issue.

I wonder though, why a World Wildlife Fund document exists on a NOAA server:

http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/files/thecircle0410.pdf

Given all the tarnish that WWF has put on IPCC in scandal after scandal, I wonder if the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (where Feely works) has also been similarly compromised by deep pocket eco-activism.

And of course the whole Yale 360 article by Elizabeth Grossman is bogus, not only for the fact that the changes in CO2 in the water at Whiskey Creek are driven by changes in ENSO, PDO, and cold water upwelling, but also because what happens in treated aquaculture tanks is not the ocean.

Green might be a good color, but it is also the color of bogus science claims affected by activism these days.

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Living in one of the largest oyster harvesting states, we have been hearing about the decline in oysters for many years. However, none was (to date) blamed on ocean acidity. A lot was blamed on fresh water (in watery years when the bay became less salty) and MSX and Dermo – 2 parasites that LOVE oysters.

I sailed the oceans for 43 years, and for a lot of that time we carried out ph tests on the sea water. In all that time I never saw a quantifiable change in ph measurements. This is just junk science.

Latitude

Arm and Hammer, a decent UV, and an off gassing tower…………….
Standard equipment in any decent hatchery

JJ

Seems like they have their causation chain reversed.
Rather than blaming the high CO2 content of deep upwelling ocean water on anthropogenic atmospheric CO2, somebody should be figuring out what impact this CO2 rich fossil water is having on atmospheric CO2 …
Not gonna hold my breath wating for that one. To do so would risk hypoxia and plasma acidification, which some idiot would them blame on ‘global warming’.

Oh My, the Juan de Fuca Ridge had best be banned. All those nasty, acidic, suphide-rich brines spilling into the abyss.

Willis Eschenbach

Anthony, a lovely piece of research. This is why this site works so well, because it reports, with full links to reports and data, the contemporaneous work people go through to track down and pull the props out from under this kind of nonsense. Yale360 is often nothing but hysteria. If I were Yale I’d at least require a) transparency and b) traceable citations for their claims. Not a handwave at the IPCC report, but chapter and verse. Academic freedom is one thing. Codswollop is another.
w.

Latitude

JJ says:
November 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm
Seems like they have their causation chain reversed.
Rather than blaming the high CO2 content of deep upwelling ocean water on anthropogenic atmospheric CO2, somebody should be figuring out what impact this CO2 rich fossil water is having on atmospheric CO2 …
========================
good point JJ……………………..

philincalifornia

“at the same time that scientists have been measuring alarmingly corrosive water along the Pacific coast.”
Wow, so when seawater approaches neutrality from a higher pH it becomes alarmingly corrosive??
Maybe I missed it (and I’m too queasy to read it again) but, other than the graph from Hawaiian waters where the lowest measured pH is around 8.08, did they ever give any pH values?? Ooooopsie, maybe too many people know that above pH 7, it ain’t acidic.

More Soylent Green!

Instead of posting about everything these guys get wrong, just post about what they get right.
Oh, never mind. You wouldn’t have anything to write about.

Gail Combs

Great detective work Anthony. You must be getting tired of debunking the disinfo after five years, so thankyou.
I wonder if Mauna Loa will be showing the increase in CO2 or just the usual straight line?

Many scientists argue that numerous changes in the oceans, a consequence of reducing the amount of salt in them.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

Another chemophobic anti-science homeopath quack doctor

I don’t know how this Grossman person is and what her qualifications are reported to be. If this is any example of the work provided to get what ever degree or diploma she as the granting institution(s) should demand the paper back. Yale 360 are we talking the university or the lock manufacturing company?

Philip Bradley

Great work Anthony.
I’d add that the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery is 3.5km from the ocean on an estuary of what appears to be a small short river.
Rivers can vary greatly in their PH. And the PH of a single river can vary for many reasons, some seasonal, some caused by agricultural or other land use practices.
There could well be some riverine effect at work as well.

Gordon Oehler

Maybe people interested in oysters should read what is happening on the East Coast. The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries have long been sources of oyster harvests. The last few decades, though, the oysters began declining. Now for the good news—thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, oysters are making a strong comeback.
Here are links to a couple of articles on the recovery of oyster beds in the Great Wicomico. It is an amazing story.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/science/04oyster.html
And.
http://www.vims.edu/newsandevents/topstories/tall_reefs.php
Here’s a quote from the VIMS site:
“The Great Wicomico’s re-established population, which the researchers estimate at 184.5 million oysters, is the largest of any native oyster population worldwide. The restored population, which exists on 86.5 acres of reefs, is roughly equivalent to the entire oyster population on all of Maryland’s 270,000 acres of public oyster grounds. The authors calculate that it is 57-times larger than the pre-restoration population; far exceeding the Chesapeake Bay Program’s previously unachieved restoration goal of a 10-fold increase of the 1994 baseline by 2010.”
I especially like how they estimate the population to four decimal places!
Both have film clips worth watching.

LazyTeenager

JJ says
Rather than blaming the high CO2 content of deep upwelling ocean water on anthropogenic atmospheric CO2, somebody should be figuring out what impact this CO2 rich fossil water is having on atmospheric CO2 …
——-
But they are not saying the high CO2 content is due to man-made CO2. That deep ocean CO2 could be decades to centuries old.

John M

Many scientists argue that numerous changes in the oceans, a consequence of reducing the amount of salt in them.

Where’d the salt go?

Jeff B.

The human hating scaremongers will throw any anthropogenic hysteria then can at the wall and hope it sticks.
The arrogance is breathtaking. Earth and the Sun are in control. We are essentially non-existent on the planet surviving in but a tiny percentage of habitable area, and they try to tell us that we have as profound an impact as a Sun or the Pacific ocean. BS. Pure and simple.
If you need a reason to vote R in 2012. This is one of many.

LazyTeenager

I agree that linking the oyster fisheries problems to AGW is wrong.
But does skeptic land now agree:
1. that decreased pH can affect shellfish growth
2. that deep ocean waters can have a sufficiently low pH to affect shell fish growth
Or do you still want to hang off on that one just to be perverse?

Stephen Skinner

On page 11 of thecircle0410.pdf is a graph showing increasing CO2 and the decreasing Ocean pH, or rather decreasing Alkalinity. The left hand scale of pH 0.15 is quite fine and if projecting the graph out a neutral pH is not reached until around 2230. So the oceans will become Acidic in around 2230, after they have passed through neutral. However, if the projected pattern of change is correct, then the rate of pH change will become vertiginous, especially after 2150 when it passes pH 7.65 and carries on down to pH7.0 in about 80 years. With this rate of change it will become academic whether it is Alkaline or Acidic. Is this what will happen and how reliable is it projecting graphs out into the future? Isn’t that what was done just prior to the current economic disaster?

Lawrie Ayres

You can understand the need for alarmist articles. The troops morale must be way down with failure after failure of projections based on dodgy science and bad models. The climate appears to be quite natural and the Chinese think man has very little to do with any change. CO2 was touted as the worlds worst enemy so it must have some effect somewhere, why not the ocean?

DirkH

I was just looking at sks to see whether they parrot the oyster meme; they don’t, but I found something quite amusing. One of those old cybernetic diagrams that are prone to chaotic oscillations, Fig. 4 on this page:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/more_wind_and_waves.html
“Our findings demonstrate that shifts in climate-driven disturbances that affect foundation species are likely to have impacts that cascade through entire ecosystems.”
Yeah, you can have a lot of fun with these diagrams. I thought they went extinct in the 80ies.
Academia is such a timeless hellhole.

1DandyTroll

So, essentially, in the real world it is actually man’s sticky fingers for trying to manipulate nature for profit and so because the profit is the most important thing, why not blame it on man made global warming and try and rake in profit from new revenue streams.

DirkH

LazyTeenager says:
November 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm
“But they are not saying the high CO2 content is due to man-made CO2. That deep ocean CO2 could be decades to centuries old.”
Let me help you.
“Massive Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has Arrived […]
But this rural coastal spot and the shellfish it has nurtured for centuries are a bellwether of one of the most palpable changes being caused by global carbon dioxide emissions — ocean acidification.”

John M

Lazy teenager,
Do you think the ocean surface waters will ever get hypoxic and super saturated from atmospheric CO2?
I hope I’m not insulting your work ethic by asking.

Theo Goodwin

An excellent example of research. Thanks. I wonder if the CAGW people will ever do something along these lines?

JJ

LazyTeenager says:
November 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm
But they are not saying the high CO2 content is due to man-made CO2.

Perhaps you missed this bit:
What the Whiskey Creek hatchery was experiencing was acidic seawater, caused by the ocean absorbing excessive amounts of CO2 from the air.
It was bold the first time, too.

Michael

Interesting article but it ignores the portion of the story discussing what is occuring outside of oyster nursery situations:
“For the past six years, wild oysters in Willapa Bay, Washington, have failed to reproduce successfully because corrosive waters have prevented oyster larvae from forming shells. Wild oysters in Puget Sound and off the east coast of Vancouver Island also have experienced reproductive failure because of acidic waters. Other wild oyster beds in the Pacific Northwest have sustained losses in recent years at the same time that scientists have been measuring alarmingly corrosive water along the Pacific coast.”

John-X

“..When you have a look at who’s writing this, you see a pattern:”
I see “Undeniable Truth of Life” #24, but maybe that’s just me

Hoser

LA Times story:
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/13/local/me-oysters13
Apparently, their problems are not new. They are breeding oysters radically different from wild types. The story claims they’ve bred oysters with no sex organs. Not sure how that works…. They finally get to the root cause. No, nothing the breeders did. Here’s the claim –
The Vibrio blooms appear to be linked to warmer waters in estuaries and the oxygen-starved “dead zones” that have showed up this decade off the coast of Oregon and Washington, researchers said.
These low-oxygen waters correlate with stronger winds coming from a warming planet.

Uh, low oxygen AND stronger winds?
Wind => waves => mixing => oxygenation
And adding to their credibility, ya gotta love the grammar of the Times.
Also, I am glad this Vibrio is not cholera.

Ron

We are witnessing the death rattle of the climate change cognoscenti.

Mr Green Genes

philincalifornia says:
November 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm
“at the same time that scientists have been measuring alarmingly corrosive water along the Pacific coast.”
Wow, so when seawater approaches neutrality from a higher pH it becomes alarmingly corrosive??

But, but … haven’t you had a coast road collapse into the sea somewhere near Los Angeles? All that acidic seawater has clearly eaten it away. It’s worse than we thought.
/sarc

Owen

You mean there are people trying to produce oysters in captivity that aren’t carefully monitoring the water they are putting into the tanks? What kind of fly by night operations are they running? I have a small hydroponic garden and I monitor the water sprayed on the tomato roots and that is just for a few hobby plants. Seems like you would want to know the water chemistry of something that is worth millions as a harvested crop as a matter of routine – electronic water testers for any number or chemicals/properties really aren’t that expensive.

Stephen Skinner

Michael says:
November 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm
Interesting article but it ignores the portion of the story discussing what is occuring outside of oyster nursery situations:
“……….reproductive failure because of acidic waters. Other wild oyster beds in the Pacific Northwest have sustained losses in recent years at the same time that scientists have been measuring alarmingly corrosive water along the Pacific coast.”
Hold on a minute. If pH is dropping then the Oceans will become less and less corrosive until they pass neutral. And then they will get more corrosive if pH continues on the acidic side of the pH scale. Until then and right now the Oceans are becoming less corrosive.

Allencic

As I do with most of the pseudo-environmental writers like Elizabeth Grossman I was able to find her educational background. On the Sierra Club website it says she has a B.A. in Literature from Yale. Like so many of the enviros who claim to have some credibility (such as Carole Browner, Bill McKibben, etc.) to tell us how to lead our lives she has virtually no scientific education. The only appropriate response to no-nothings like Elizabeth is, leave us alone you moron.

Caleb

I’ve always been fascinated by those deep sea vents. One thing that submarine cameras showed puzzled me. The pressure was so great at that depth that CO2 dribbled from volcanic cracks as a liquid, (CO2 is liquid under pressure, even at room temperature; for example inside a fire extinguisher.) The liquid CO2 disolved into the sea water, which I imagine would make the the local ph quite high. However right in the same area were some of those deep sea clams that live by vents. Why didn’t their shells disolve?

Alex the skeptic

Isn’t ocean water alkaline? The PH of the oceans is around 8.So why do we use the term acidification? How much more CO2 has to be dissolved in the ocean waters for this to become neutral at PH 7?

Gixxerboy

Oysters and other shellfish doing just fine here in New Zealand. Only problems come from nitrgogen run-off or sewage spills in storms, when near farmland or habitation. Those are the environmental problems we should be focusing on.

Pat Frank

If their problem is cold anoxic CO2-rich bottom water, their solution is a pre-aeration tank.
Just bubbling air through the cold water should see the dissolved CO2 quickly reach the surface water equilibrium concentration, and the water pH rise and stabilize at the usual 8.1 or so. The expense of aeration should be small compared to buying the BTUs they already expend heating the inflow water.

More Soylent Green! says:
November 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm

“Instead of posting about everything these guys get wrong, …”

And “these guys” would be which guys? Please be more specific.

TomRude
wayne

Anthony, that’s a great piece of investigation there.
Can’t believe Yale would allow such a piece on their site associated with the universities name with so many falsehoods and deceptions contained within. But the ivy league schools have been so contaminated by these anthropogenic “climate scientists” and “environmental” activists, I don’t see them ever coming back.
But we can all be thankful there is WUWT, bringing in the facts.

David Falkner

Wait, if the water that is welling up, and then warming, is rich in CO2…..

Most of the existing deep ocean water is at pH levels that cause alarmism if measured at the surface. From this diagram, at 55 deg N, you have to move water only 100m upwards to get pH 7.3.
http://www.geoffstuff.com/OceanpH.jpg
Given that waters mix naturally, how much “ocean acidification” is caused naturally? And how do you separate it from the effects of CO2 in the air?

Dr K.A. Rodgers

I was cleaning up my bookshelves yesterday. Came across Konrad B. Krauskopf’s “Introduction to geochemistry”. It has a couple of chapters on carbonate equilibria in natural solutions, especially seawater. It is a great treatment. I recommend it to anyone still pondering this matter. I used it as basis of lectures I gave for nigh on 40 years on the subject. I suspect most of these folk pontificating on the acidifcation of sewater don’t know any solution chemistry, let alone what a buffer is (seawater is a powerful one) nor that the pH scale is logarithmic.

Steve from Rockwood

“Historically we’ve had larvae mortalities,” says Wiegardt, but those deaths were usually related to bacteria.
———————————————————
It’s not even the ocean. It’s a fish tank full of bacteria. No wonder they’re losing money.
Soon we’ll be having massive die-offs of farmed salmon”.

JimF

Hmm, let’s see. From the Cambrian to the end of the Cretaceous, geochemical studies indicate the Earth’s atmosphere had far more CO2 than it does today. The studies also indicate that, with the exception of a few multimillion year glacial episodes, the Earth was several degrees warmer than it is today. Life burgeoned throughout most of that time (ca. 0.6 billion years), with the exception of some massive die offs occasioned by who knows what (life soon came roaring back, even more diverse than before the mass extinctions.)
Now drag out your favorite historical geology textbook and check out the stratigraphic columns that are chosen to illustrate the several geologic periods. What is the most abundant type of rock deposited throughout all that time? Chances are you will conclude that it’s limestone (or dolomite, which starts out as limestone). Limestone is easily dissolved by low-strength acid, like vinegar.
How come these conditions didn’t turn the ocean into a dead zone? How come aragonitic and calcitic mollusk shells (and for that matter, coral reefs a quarter mile high) are found in profusion in the sediments deposited under those conditions? Seems to me some of these doomsayers should be asked how our CO2-impoverished, cold environment can be so fraught with danger relative to the geologic history of the planet.

newtlove

(After 2 hurricane remnants blew through)
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Way too much of a good thing is officially the cause for a die-off of oysters in the upper Chesapeake. Alex DeMetrick reports too much rain washed away the salty water oysters need to survive.
http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2011/11/09/fresh-water-killing-off-oysters-in-upper-chesapeake-bay/
State biologists have found “concentrated pockets” of dead oysters in the upper Chesapeake Bay, which they blame on a record-high influx of fresh water into the estuary this year. But the die-off appears so far to be limited to two areas north of the Bay Bridge, officials note, which together account for just 2 percent of the state’s overall oyster harvest.
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-11-09/features/bs-gr-oyster-kill-report-20111109_1_oyster-harvest-bay-oyster-bars-dead-oysters

The Manchester Union Leader yesterday (I guess that makes it the NH Sunday News) had a nice story on the return of the oyster industry to Great Bay after years of sewage and other nitrogen pollution. It’s a “Only in Print” article, the tease and a couple photos are at
http://www.unionleader.com/article/20111121/NEWS15/711219977
Personally, I prefer clams on the half shell. They’re usually easier to open. Then there was the one I tried opening with the point of a paring knife at 3 AM one morning (for breakfast!). I was thinking that was a stupid thing to do just as the knife slipped.
There are reasons for clam knives and chain mail gloves for oysters….

Frank K.

“Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Salon, The Washington Post, The Nation, Mother Jones, Grist, and other publications.”
So, how many other tabloids has work appeared in? Maybe this is the new climate science “peer review”! [heh]