Good news! Oysters may be safe from ocean acidification

From the UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH

Future climate change may not adversely affect seafood quality

The eating qualities of UK oysters may not be adversely affected by future ocean acidification and global warming, new research has suggested.

Scientists have previously demonstrated that predicted increases in temperature and carbon dioxide levels within the marine environment can induce physiological changes in oysters.

However, a study by the University of Plymouth has shown oysters exposed to levels currently expected to occur over the next century do not lose their sensory qualities.

Oysters tested in the research did not lose their sensory qualities when exposed to temperature and carbon dioxide levels currently expected to occur over the next century. CREDIT Anaelle Lemasson/University of Plymouth

Writing in Frontiers in Marine Science, the researchers say this has potentially positive implications for future global food supply.

PhD student Anaëlle Lemasson, who led the study, said: “Many organisms struggle to cope under the conditions created by ocean acidification and warming, but the impact on taste and other sensory qualities has not been fully assessed. Our study gives an insight into how the consumer appeal for oysters might evolve in the future, and suggests that short-term exposure does not have any detrimental effects on their overall acceptability. However, there is still a lot to learn about the full implications of these conditions on their taste or nutritional quality.”

Recent figures have suggested that seafood represents an estimated 17% of the global population’s animal protein intake.

With the population expected to reach up to 12.3billion by 2100, researchers say the demand for animal protein is unlikely to be met by terrestrial farming and there will be increasing reliance on the marine environment.

For this study, scientists used the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and samples were exposed to CO2 and temperature levels currently projected to occur in the year 2100.

After five days, a panel of five experts was then asked to assess the samples in terms of their appearance, aroma, taste and overall acceptability.

The results showed the overall acceptability was not diminished by the increased levels, while some aspects of the oysters’ texture and appearance was actually enhanced.

Dr Antony Knights, Lecturer in Marine Ecology at the University, said: “Environmental conditions in our oceans are increasingly punctuated by short-term, acute changes in temperature and pH as a result of global climate change. These results suggest commercially-important shellfish may well be resilient to these changes, which is good news for producers and consumers alike.”

Professor of Marine Biology Jason Hall-Spencer, an expert on the global impact of ocean acidification, added: “It is clear that carbon dioxide emissions are having widespread adverse effects on marine organisms, killing large areas of the Great Barrier Reef this year. Scientists are now starting to focus on how we can adapt to these rapid changes to sustain the marine economy. It came as a surprise, and very good news, that the food quality of oysters can remain high despite increases in ocean acidity and temperature.”

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61 thoughts on “Good news! Oysters may be safe from ocean acidification

  1. Now that the “we’re all gonna fry” angle is turning up a cropper, they are trying to resurrect the previously discredited acidification angle.

    • Thank God they remain sensory. After all what would the algorical one eat when we peasants are confined to saltbush and grounds nuts

    • It’s okay around Australia they are getting belted by Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome which is a sort of herpes virus. Climate change is the least of there worries and only POMS resistance strains are going to be left.

    • Well eating oysters has a deleterious effect on their quality. Same thing happens as hay that has once been through the horse !

      g

  2. Even the UN conceeds that the world’s population is going to peak on or before 2050 the start declining rapidly.
    My personal guestimate is it will peak closer to 2030.

  3. “Professor of Marine Biology Jason Hall-Spencer, an expert on the global impact of ocean acidification, added: “It is clear that carbon dioxide emissions are having widespread adverse effects on marine organisms, killing large areas of the Great Barrier Reef this year.”

    FAIL!

  4. Isn’t five days a rather short period to draw conclusions from? Not that I think a more realistic period — say 5 years — will produce different results. But surely it could. Any biologists/zooligists around here care to defend the test design?

    • No, my investigations support these results. Addition of a little lemon juice for just 5 seconds was found to be beneficial.

    • As is usual in CAGW doomsday scenarios, they appear to have discounted selection and evolution. As we have known for a very long time, under a high selection pressure, and especially for creatures like oysters which produce a lot of offspring, evolution can happen very quickly. The study means nothing.

  5. (a) It wasn’t “carbon dioxide” which killed off the GBR in 2016, it was unusually high water temperatures the result of an extreme El Niño event.
    (b) Advances in AI and robotics will force the global population to level off at far lower levels than 12.3 billion.
    (c) Five days’ exposure is not nearly sufficient time to properly assess responses representative of future atmospheric conditions. Perhaps a comparative with a reduced CO2 environment representing 1870 levels would also have been useful to gauge whether or not oysters both survive and improve on the assessed qualities made by the researchers?

    • (a) and because of the warm water, the CO2 level was LOW as were all other nutrients and food.

      Flows were also very low and the water shallower than normal.

      Like all things, coral and its inhabitants need food and CO2.

    • I thought part of it was unusually low water levels caused by the same El Nino which caused the most damage – rather than temperature.

      • The low water level allowed too much sun for too long, plus, as I said above, the water was slow and basically nutrient free.

        The little fellas living in the coral went hunting food elsewhere, or unfortunately perished :-(

        Anyway, their homes are now up for rent again, and the neighbourhood is getting quickly back to being its own self. :-)

  6. The researcher said: “Many organisms struggle to cope under the conditions created by ocean acidification and warming…”. Oh, yes, and what evidence did she quote to support this statement I wonder? And the study was led by a PhD student – so was this just an assignment (with plenty of free oysters to eat), not a grant-funded piece of research?

    • How does a warming ocean hold more CO2 to become acidic (less basic actually)? I thought that the warmer a liquid was the less it was inclined to hold gases.

      • Rhoda,

        That is true when there is no additional CO2 in the atmosphere: the increase in dynamic equilibrium between ocean surface and atmosphere shifts with about 16 ppmv/K. For the current average ocean temperature that is at about 290 ppmv in the atmosphere.

        As we are currently above 400 ppmv, that pushes more CO2 into the ocean surface. Not that this is a real problem: the pH change since 1850 is less than 0.1 pH unit, while coral reefs show pH changes of 1 pH unit within a day…

  7. Australia likely has the best ‘acidification’ research (primarily at AIMS).
    AIMS extensive laboratory has found nothing to be concerned about.
    Indeed it’s mostly benefits from CO2 enrichment of oceans.
    On the other hand, AIMS propaganda department continues to predict the end of the World and the need for more research and funding.
    The fact is AIMS and their counterparts everywhere are duplicating the same, or substantially similar, research.
    Can’t say I blame them in one way . . . would you erase your own job and shut a 20-million dollar lab?
    No it’s our politicians who don’t understand how our money is being spent.
    That’s because they’re mostly ex lawyers who believe they’re smarter.
    Yes AU politicians are mostly ex lawyers who got their degree without the need to understand mathematics or anything remotely related to science.
    We’re governed by a bunch of lunatic lawyers (on both sides) who seek fame, favour and fortune through AWG.

    • Warren,

      You shouldn’t single out your Australian politicians, as your statement pretty much applies to politicians everywhere. Scientifically illiterate and completely innumerate lawyers are running every country on the planet.

  8. I have decoded this research.
    “The eating qualities of UK oysters may not be adversely affected”
    Did they use UK oysters in the research? No, they did not.
    “For this study, scientists used the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas)”
    Results:

    After five days, a panel of five experts was then asked to assess the samples in terms of their appearance, aroma, taste and overall acceptability.

    They ate the experiment!
    PhD student Anaëlle Lemasson found a way to use research funds to pay for gourmet imported oyster treats for herself and friends.

    Smooth!

  9. I found this professor Jason Hall-Spencer on LinkedIn and a message to point out that:

    1- The GBR suffered temporarily due to low sea level and exposure to sunlight.
    2- The GBR is recovering nicely
    3- The GBR has been around for 2m years and that it had survived ice ages as well as warmer periods and higher CO2
    4- He should check his facts

    • Yep Jason Hall-Spencer is a barefaced liar.
      He is typical of so many academics and politicians Worldwide lying about Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
      Not even the corrupt GBRMPA (AU authority) would agree with this level of blatant lying.

    • The GBR has been around for 2m years …

      OMG … The Great Barrier Reef has only been around for a few hours!

      The prefix ‘m’ means milli. The prefix you should have used was ‘M’ which means mega. link In this case, there’s not much to be gained by using the prefix. You should just say “two million years”.

    • It’s okay the GBR authority are playing around with a virus and genome of the crown of thorn starfish a natural predator to the coral to try and interfere to reduce there numbers under the idea of helping the reef. I mean playing around with a virus or genome of a natural species in the wild, what could wrong?

      The stupid part is the Greens who you would think should be against such dangerous stupidity think it’s a great idea. I am just waiting for it when this goes pear-shaped and the wipe most of the reef out. I guess I will get to say told you so at that point.

  10. Basic science should wake us all up that “ocean acidification” is yet another scare campaign to deceive us in to handing over $$$$$$$$$$$$$ and destroying our energy based civilization.
    The glaringly simple chemistry:- Doubling CO2 concentration in water lowers pH by .4. Current pH of oceans is 8-basic. There is 48x more CO2 dissolved in the oceans compared with the atmosphere. If all of the CO2 released in to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels is to dissolve in the oceans, it would require a 48 fold increase in atmospheric CO2 equivalent ie 48x 400ppm- nearly 20,000ppm (2%) to get the .4 pH decrease-still basic. To get to neutral would require 2 1/2 such doublings, ie 50,000ppm (5%) CO2 -up from 400ppm.
    This just to get to pH 7, which is neutral.
    Buffering from rocks on the ocean floor has not even been taken in to consideration in this blindingly obvious science.
    400 ppm up to 50,000ppm. Do you hear the BS meters exploding? Anyone who still believes the “ocean acidification” scare is akin to a dung beetle-able to swallow endless amounts of bullshit. These same dung-beetle type fools are even worse! They swallow their bullshit with a liberal dose of Kool aid.You can fool some people all of the time….

    • Yes, the OA believers in the science community failed (or used someone else’s lab book to get through) freshman Inorganic Chemistry Lab.

      The simple titration calculations of the ocean pH shows how ignorant OA believers are. Combine that with the continental shelf calcium carbonates (Tums) and the mid-ocean basalt (basic salts), and you,ve got massive buffering capacity. Furthermore, the daily and seasonal pH swings that the coastal marine life endures is a full pH point, and yet shell formers still thrive. They know how to handle pH changes. The OA Alarmists are clueless.

    • high treason,

      You are right about the quantities, but one should be a little cautious: you need to take into account the time needed to mix in the CO2 levels in the atmosphere with the deep oceans, where the bulk of CO2 derivatives is.
      As most calcification life is in the surface layer which is in fast equilibrium with the atmosphere (mixing time less than a year), the slow mixing with the deep oceans (~51 years decay rate) is a bottleneck, which decreases the pH of the ocean surface.

      Not that there are any problems observed from the 370 GtC emitted since 1850: some 0.1 pH unit drop. No fish or molusk that has problems with that…

    • Any suggestions how GBR survived being wholly out of the sea and accesible from Land? Did it stay as a dea structure or did it regrow during the interglacial sea level risewhen conditions were appropriate. The white cliffs of inland Cairns? This academic expenditure is all pointless waste as change happens very slowly, we can adapt, and there is basically nothing puny humans can do about it. How many people will evr go there are really care. The cleaching was from a sea level fall, BTW.

      WHY are we funding these BS academics to go on aquatic/scuba diving hols and whip up a quick paper with concerns based on their beliefs to prolong their pointless waste more of peoples money? Being an “environmental” academic today in soft subjects is just like a modern version of being a priest in a state sponsored religion. What is the impact of climate change on Ayres Rock? Must be worth an application. Time for a reformation yet? I can smell BS, from the UK. Spray it with Abbott essence.

      • When you look at most of the large reef structures you see ancient dead reefs in deeper water positioned so they would be at about the same depth as current reefs with the 100 meter lower water levels. This is pretty much true world wide from what I have read.

    • “The glaringly simple chemistry:-

      This just to get to pH 7, which is neutral.”

      Simple, but irrelevant. It would take a huge amount of CO2 in the air to get your blood pH from 7.3 to 7, because of bicarb buffering. But well before it gets there, you are dead, from acidosis.

      pH is just irrelevant here. H ions are sparse, and an insignificant reagent. What matters is the status of the carb/bicarb buffer. Every added CO2 shifts pH down, and the Le Chatelier response is to dissolve 1 CaCO3 to bring it back.

  11. This paper had a really short duration and was concerned about palpability…

    I’m in the wrong field of work…

  12. When you’ve based making your career on a failed hypothesis, such as OA, all you can do is double on the stupid and hope someone feels pity on the funding committee to give your grant app a good score.

  13. Oysters maybe safe from ‘ocean acidification’ but they are not safe from a splash of dry white wine into the half shell, a drop of tabasco, and a 3 to 5 minute tour on my smokey wood fired grill!

    Two Yums Up!

  14. So, “Scientists have previously demonstrated that predicted increases in temperature and carbon dioxide levels within the marine environment can induce physiological changes in oysters” the authors claim.

    Well sort of and not entirely to everyone’s satisfaction. But why be careful and modest with your claims if you’ve got the climate change mafia on your side.

    But on the bright side anyone who likes oysters can rest easy and presumably the taste won’t be affected (unless the extra CO2 will make them slightly fizzy).

    • Well now, if I could base my dissertation on a 5 day experiment and get signed off by my adviser, I’d be tempted to do it too. Also as a PhD student she has to write to the biases of the dissertation board. Even if this isn’t her final dissertation project, she has to suck up to the people who will be signing off her dissertation. The problem is too many students don’t just use the right words to pass, they internalize and believe the propaganda. Though even this little project could have her walking on egg shells with the hard core propagandists as she genuflected appropriately, but still stated heresy – oysters will still be palatable, thus limiting the devastation of the genuflected Armageddon.The priesthood will not be pleased!

  15. With the population expected to reach up to 12.3billion by 2100

    Where does this dreck come from?
    All the estimates I have seen has the population peaking around 2050 at less than 10 billion. Then starting a slow decline.

  16. From the abstract
    “Non-statistically supported trends suggest that several sensory attributes—opacity, mouthfeel, aspect of meat, shininess, meat resistance, meat texture, and creaminess—may improve under acidification and warming scenarios.”
    As noted this is about the sensory capacity of oyster eaters, not oysters, but definitions these days are hard to keep up with. Oysters live in boundary conditions, sometimes partially buried in actual acid sediments which they can modify.
    It is difficult to distinguish an Eocene oyster from one in the Anthropocene. Papers on oysters don’t go back that far, but a whole lot farther than the authors seem to know about.
    This is a new journal.
    http://www.cdnsciencepub.com/Landing-pages/anthropocene-coasts.aspx

    • The Staff of this Institute should be researched for prior papers, etc. and a general feel for the direction of their “Research”, or, better yet, “Search” for grants and monies..
      If you don’t find the money on your first search, then you must “Re-search.”
      Not saying they are not on the up and up, but who is funding this Institute?

  17. Did a bunch of oyster management in my day. What is hard to believe about this study is someone in government paid for it with tax dollars. Oyster’s problems have little to do with carbon dioxide or acidification and a lot to do with domestic sewage, naturally occurring diseases in intensive culture areas and over harvesting of wild stocks.

  18. So how do they think the oceans, sea, and coastal waters are going to become acidified? It is utter nonsense study for a meal of some of the probably most expensive seafood on the planet.

    Umm, but wait…
    I believe sturgeon eggs, especially when salt cured, are adversely affected by AGW/Climate Change, I just need a grant (only $125,000 or so) to check it out.
    And, and French white truffles, and, and Japanese wagyu beef, 100 year old Port …

  19. The sensory qualities that are referred to are more commonly called organoleptic properties as these folks should know.

    TG

  20. Ocean acidification is not going to impact any shell making creatures over the long run. The oceans are always going to be alkaline to some degree, Creatures adapt to new conditions over time as long as a small percentage of their population survives the change. That small number of resistant individuals will continue to produce offspring which carry their resistant genes, and which over several generations will repopulate the habitat.

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