Climate change poses significant threat to nutritional benefits of oysters

From Eurekalert: (no comment ~ctm)

University of Plymouth

Caption Dr. Anaelle Lemasson with some of the oysters used in the research. Credit University of Plymouth Usage Restrictions None

The nutritional qualities of shellfish could be significantly reduced by future ocean acidification and warming, a new study suggests.

Research has previously shown that climate change could threaten future production, safety and quality by negatively impacting the fitness of marine species.

Now scientists from the University of Plymouth, in a study published in Marine Environmental Research, have demonstrated the potential for negative nutritional effects within economically and commercially valuable species.

The research focussed on the Pacific oyster (Magallana gigas) and the native flat oyster (Ostrea edulis), with results showing that increased temperatures and CO2 levels could significantly reduce the former’s levels of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates.

With seafood being the source of more than 15% of animal protein consumed globally, scientists say the aquaculture industry may wish to consider a shift in focus toward species that are most robust to climate change and less prone to deterioration in quality.

Dr Anaëlle Lemasson, a former PhD student at the University, led the research having previously shown that although the physiology of the Pacific oyster can be negatively impacted by future climate change, its taste might not be adversely affected.

She said: “Identifying changes in nutritional quality, as well as species most at risk, is crucial if societies are to secure food production. Our previous research had suggested there could be negative effects in the conditions predicted to occur in 2050 and 2100. However the fact that Pacific oysters, which currently accounts for around 90% of UK oyster production, can be affected could be a cause for concern.”

The research was conducted by scientists linked to the University’s Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre (MBERC) and the Food, Health and Nutrition research group.

MBERC is one of the world’s leading research centres examining the impact of multiple stressors on marine organisms and environments, and undergraduate and postgraduate students are regularly involved in that research.

The oysters were subjected to six different sets of ocean conditions over a 12-week period, from current temperatures and CO2 levels to the increased measurements predicted for both the middle and end of the century.

As well as changes in nutrient levels, researchers also observed important changes to essential mineral composition, adding that the enhanced accumulation of copper in Pacific oysters may be of future concern in terms of consumption safety.

Dr Victor Kuri, Lecturer in Food Quality at the University, said: “With a low environmental impact, shellfish are a promising highly nutritious alternative to fish and other animal products, but their sustainability depends on their quality attributes including palatability, nutrition and safety. This work confirms the need to understand the science behind the risks and mechanisms of shellfish production, as this knowledge is needed to build adequate resilience in harvesting and aquaculture industries”

Dr Antony Knights, Associate Professor in Marine Ecology, added: “Climate change and the growing global population are placing arguably unsustainable demands on sources of animal protein. This comes at a time when increased obesity in several regions of the world is leading to greater public awareness of the need for healthy and balanced diets. Oysters have the potential to be a sustainable, low-cost alternative source of protein for humans. Our native flat oyster, in particular, appears to be more resilient to future climate change scenarios than introduced Pacific oysters making them a great aquaculture choice and supports the growing investment in this product in the UK.”



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Alan Reed
November 30, 2018 2:19 am

Oysters are a waste of money. I must have eaten a dozen last night but only three of them worked.

Reply to  Alan Reed
November 30, 2018 5:08 am

Glad to see that you were up to it. It is hard to erect much without them.

Come to think of it, don’t oysters and pigs with wings have something in common?

Bryan A
Reply to  shrnfr
November 30, 2018 6:05 am

Reply to  Alan Reed
November 30, 2018 9:39 am

A dozen? Ain’t that the annual package?

November 30, 2018 2:29 am

I have just come back from a project in the Atlantic between the Shetlands and the Faroes. Primarily we were looking at sponge aggregation.

Prior to comencing the bathymetric surveys we read a few papers relating to sponge aggregation in the area, they seemed to be adamant that we would not see sponges deeper than 500m.

We were working between 580 to 650m so really did not expect to see any sponges.

After finishing the surveys with a criteria of sea bed object detection of 0.5m, we had over 11,000 targets to think about and select our camera transects.

We carried out about 20 transects with UHD cameras and the results were astounding, the sea bed was littered with sponge and all its associated macro/micro fauna.

The moral of the story for me is dont beleive everything yoy read in scientific papers.

Reply to  Julian
November 30, 2018 4:07 am

Excuse spelling for some reason the IOS checker does not work on this site for me.

Jon Scott
Reply to  Julian
November 30, 2018 4:24 am

People write papers, nature does not.

Reply to  Jon Scott
November 30, 2018 4:50 am

Worse, Nature utterly fails to read our papers, and just carries on adapting to ever-changing conditions as it always has. Its like the people who write those definitive papers don’t actually believe in evolution, which is Nature’s highly-successful mechanism for adaptation.

Bryan A
Reply to  Notanist
November 30, 2018 6:11 am

That is the problem with research like this. It takes a subject born in one setting and vastly alters it’s environment over a short time period. Nature isn’t like that in that the changes they propose in the study won’t occur in nature over 12 weeks. The changes occur slowly, over many generations, and their net affect is adapted to with each successive generation.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Julian
November 30, 2018 6:37 am

As a physician and scientists I would go further and suggest believe nothing you read in scientific papers, till they are properly challenged after publication and ideally replicated by independent researchers. And even then if the research is funded by those with an agenda remain sceptical till some time passes.

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
November 30, 2018 4:10 pm

Andy Pattullo

What a sensible solution to the peer review problem which has some major impacts right down the line.

Peer review is now questionable, and to be fair to those engaged, they probably have numerous studies to examine plus their own day to day work to conduct.

Now, if each paper submitted to, for example, Nature or the Lancet were subject to true replication, i.e. the study being run again by peer reviewers to ensure it’s robustness, that might eliminate many of the poor quality papers submitted.

The problem is of course manpower and resources to replicate the many studies out there. But one has to ask, what cost scientific excellence?

However, on the flip side, might there not be a wholesale enema of the scientific community leaving only the best to publish?

Too big a subject for a layman like me to question though.

As far as I understand, this is/was the whole point of peer reviewed science.

Reply to  Julian
November 30, 2018 9:24 am

If the ocean was to warm or cool, for what reason would the oysters not move their range. Are these guys dumb enough to not tumble to the fact that oysters will thrive in different areas with ocean temperature change. That’s such a simple concept.

The report a few years ago was that the moose in Wisconsin were being driven North, changing their range, because of climate change, which was supposed to be a warming of over 4 deg F for Wisconsin.

Finally, a real biologist did the biology: Moose tolerate the hottest days of summer by going into the water and their southernmost range is determined by the number and severity of very hot days.
A survey of the temperature record showed that there was essentially no warming in Wisconsin.

What had changed, however, was the invasion of white-tailed deer, who brought with them all their diseases and parasites. Moose suffering from debilitating pests and disease, being already weakened, would succumb on very hot days. It was the combination of illness and heat stress that was killing them while a healthy moose would have been fine. As a result, the range of the moose has moved North to areas with less severe hot days.

Organism are always adjusting their ranges. It is wrong to impose climate change on organisms who would not normally stay put under such conditions. As the young spats (oyster young) are in the water column, they have a chance to chose where they land and colonize.

It might be, with warming or cooling of the oceans, the fishermen might have to move their operations to where the oysters are. If they are planning oyster farming, It would be wise to follow the wild oysters to have the best conditions.

Reply to  Julian
November 30, 2018 2:49 pm

‘I have just come back from a project in the Atlantic between the Shetlands and the Faroes. Primarily we were looking at sponge aggregation.’

For a moment there I thought you were delving into trans sects among our Sandstone climate changers to see if there were any anomalies with grants and clear discrimination.

November 30, 2018 2:58 am

“….The research focussed on the Pacific oyster (Magallana gigas) and the native flat oyster (Ostrea edulis), with results showing that increased temperatures and CO2 levels could significantly reduce the former’s levels of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates.

With seafood being the source of more than 15% of animal protein consumed globally….”

Notice the non sequitur here. How many people get a significant part of their protein from oysters (and one particular species at that).

Also one might doubt the reliability of a testing protocol that runs through a century’s worth of (supposed) climate change in 12 weeks. I can well understand that the oysters might be stressed, though apparently the european oysters weren’t.

Reply to  tty
November 30, 2018 4:37 am


Even as a layman I considered the artificially forced long term nature of the experiment unrealistic.

……….and supports the growing investment in this product in the UK.”

Would it be terribly naive to ask who paid for this research?

Reply to  tty
November 30, 2018 9:01 am

What I an stuck upon is the “could” significantly reduce…
Did their study determine that under the stressed conditions the oyster’s proteins, lipids and carbohydrates value “did” reduce?
If so state that. One could then surmise that oysters immediately subjected to these conditions would see this effect.
Do we have a centuries worth of base-line data? What do the rends in this data show?

Smart Rock
Reply to  Rocketscientist
November 30, 2018 7:56 pm

“Could” and “may” and so on are standard usage in writing scientific papers, especially in the fuzzier sciences like zoology, geology etc. It means “this is what we infer from our observations, but there is room for more data to be collected and/or alternative conclusions”. Nothing wrong with that, in the normal course of scientific endeavour; it’s just a bit more data to add to the edifice of knowledge and understanding.

What is wrong with it in the current environment of climate science is that it hides things that should be said, like “we deliberately set out to find evidence of negative consequences of global warming, this is what we came up with, and we know the experiment doesn’t replicate the natural environment, but who cares, it allows us to draw the right kind of doom-laden conclusions, so there! (and here’s my next grant application)”

November 30, 2018 3:02 am

On the one hand we are eating too much and becoming obese, which is a problem, yet a food stuff that becomes less protein and carbohydrate rich is ALSO a problem? LOL!

But of course, when it comes to CAGW, everything is a problem, even if it contradicts itsself in not being a problem. 🙂

David Chappell
November 30, 2018 3:46 am

Viagra sales to soar.

November 30, 2018 3:48 am

Would her work have gotten published were it not so?

A deeper reflection is of course that oysters are filter feeders. They depend on primary productivity of phyto plankton, as do all animals in the ocean foodchain. And all the evidence so far indicates primary productivity increases with more CO2, just as it does on land. And shellfish evolved in ancient oceans with far higher CO2 than any projected even from RCP8.5 fantasy.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 30, 2018 5:46 am

I wonder just how much of the effect was due to the plankton not being well adapted to higher temperatures, thus affecting the oysters diet. And there are other species of oysters that live in currently warmer waters, so. . .

John Tillman
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 30, 2018 6:01 am

In the real world, if waters warm, plankton spieces which like it hot will move into the area and those who like it cold out.

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 1, 2018 4:42 am

However oysters are now largely restricted to cooler waters. This was not so it the past. In the (much warmer) Cretaceous oysters were common all over the tropics. The difference is apparently due to the evolution of more efficient shell-boring predators.

Oysters grow well in tropical waters today, but oyster farms there suffer catastrophic predation.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  tty
December 3, 2018 3:54 pm

In the 1950s as a teenager I was taught how to rake oysters out of the their shallow water up the coast from Galveston. Once in awhile we battered and fried them on the beach. Only way I would eat them was with catsup. Same for Gulf shrimp.

Today there are 200 million more citizens in the U.S. I’m betting that those areas were destroyed by.development. It sure wasn’t because the water was warm enough to swim in February most years.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 30, 2018 5:58 am

I honest don’t know how all this crap gets published….

You can’t lower pH without lowering buffer…carbonates…yet they claim it’s the lower pH..without testing for carbonates
..lower carbonates…like any other nutrient…did always does

David Chappell
November 30, 2018 3:55 am

And cue a source of future social unrest. IIRC, in Victorian times (at least in England) the lower classes protested about the number of oysters they were forced to eat in thier diet.

Reply to  David Chappell
November 30, 2018 8:53 am

Servants in New England had contracts to limit the amount of lobster they had to eat, they were considered trash shellfish until fairly recently.

November 30, 2018 3:57 am

I thought oysters are generally considered a luxury foodstuff and not really a part of a staple diet. I mean, who cares?

Reply to  Alex
November 30, 2018 4:35 am

So it’s foodstuff for the “Green” clientel and so it’s a problem, isn’t it ?

Reply to  Alex
November 30, 2018 4:41 am

what planet do you come from?
Scallop war: French and British boats clash in Channel
French navy ready to intervene in Scallop war: Stay out of water! France draws LINE

Reply to  Alex
December 1, 2018 4:46 am

Not so long ago oysters were mostly eaten by the poor. In England they were eaten off street stalls like hot dogs.

Then came modern sanitation and the oyster beds were destroyed by sewage. Oysters became rare and therefore luxury food.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  tty
December 2, 2018 6:08 pm

tty, I read somewhere that lobster was once considered the Lice of the Sea and the sort of cheap rubbish they gave prisoners on death row.

November 30, 2018 4:05 am

Ms Lemassion’s earlier paper:

“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.”

Dale S
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 30, 2018 6:04 am

“Environmental conditions in our oceans are increasingly punctuated by short-term, acute changes in temperature and pH as a result of global climate change.”

I understand how rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere could slowly raise the pH of the ocean and sloooowwwwwlllllyyy raise the temperature of the ocean (given its vast heat capacity). But how is it physically possible for it to cause “short-term, acute changes” in the ocean?

R Shearer
Reply to  Dale S
November 30, 2018 10:13 am

You mean lower the pH.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 30, 2018 9:39 am

But since the GBR scam is exposed, it actually makes the good news about shellfish adaptability more contextual.

Jim Ross
November 30, 2018 4:09 am

I understand that Puget Sound is a pretty good spot for oysters. And yet CO2 levels in surface waters there reach 1,500 μmol/mol or more every winter (cf 400-420 in the overlying atmosphere). See here: (plot may be very slow to load so be patient).

Presumably, the major reduction in CO2 levels in the surface waters during the early spring is a result of photosynthesis activity by phytoplankton.

November 30, 2018 4:13 am

Forget about oysters.
This might be worth of your attention:
In England there were: Total of 625 extra deaths recorded during two periods of higher-than-normal temperatures in spring and summer of this year.
There were an estimated 50,100 excess deaths in England and Wales last winter, the highest recorded since 1975-76. The increase is thought to be down to flu and the particularly cold weather.

Reply to  vukcevic
November 30, 2018 4:49 am


The inconvenient, ongoing deaths of millions around the world from catastrophic energy policies are a mere inconvenience when an ideological quest is at stake.

Ask Mao and Stalin.

Smart Rock
Reply to  vukcevic
November 30, 2018 8:27 pm

Skewed data, vuk. Your excess summer deaths were in England; but your excess winter deaths were in England and Wales. Of those 50,100 excess winter deaths, 49,817 were in Wales, see?

OK, that was frivolous, but I couldn’t resist it (and many apologies to those west of the border); this is not. It is standard skeptic talk when alarmist literature gives numbers of excess deaths due to a manifestation of CAGW or nuclear power, to say – give me the name of any one of them. But we accept “excess deaths” due to high energy prices and people not being able to heat their homes, because it supports our position. If we are to be guided by science, we must retain a skeptical view of everything, whether we like it or not.

Serious discussions of “excess deaths” need to disclose the source of the estimate, and the way it was derived. Anecdotal data may be good rhetoric, but they are bad science.

Not saying you are guilty of that, vuk. Your comments are always interesting and original.

George Wood
November 30, 2018 4:16 am

“My Lady, the peasants have no oysters”
“Then let them eat lobster”

November 30, 2018 4:36 am

I tried to eat an oyster once.

Reply to  Roger
November 30, 2018 5:29 am

I looked at one on a seafood cocktail
nearly heaved
handed my entree to another guest
damn theyre gross slimy gobbets, no way would i eat that muck

Reply to  ozspeaksup
November 30, 2018 3:52 pm

I liked them.
That is absolutely not reciprocated.

Now I do not eat them. Ever


Smart Rock
Reply to  ozspeaksup
November 30, 2018 8:04 pm

You should try smoked oysters. Not slimy, not gross, quite tasty and also nutritious.

November 30, 2018 4:41 am

So, does the potential reduction in nutritional quality correspond to a reduction in the oysters libido enhancing qualities?

Reply to  SMC
November 30, 2018 5:31 am


Of course it does. So humanity invented viagra which produces CO2 in it’s manufacture, further affecting the oysters libido enhancing qualities which increases the demand for viagra.

Yay, I got there!

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 30, 2018 5:16 am

So have I got this right – a bunch of otherwise unemployables are spending a vast amount of public money to grow oysters in hopelessly unnatural tanks so that they can eat them and make subjective judgements about taste and nuitrition and secure further funding to keep repeating this utter twaddle?

What’s not too like if you are on this spectacularly useless pseudo-science junket, especially if you have a taste for oysters , which of course form the diet of the sort of jet-setting alarmists who profit off the elitist CAGW scam and expect to continue their lavishly out of touch oyster munching lifestyle paid for by the rest of society.

Breathtaking hardly begins to describe this disgrace to science.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 30, 2018 5:34 am

Moderately Cross of East Anglia

You were doing so well until you said “munching”. Evidently one doesn’t much an oyster, one just lets it slip down the gullet.

Don’t know myself, I have the same opinion of them as ozspeaksup above.

Reply to  HotScot
November 30, 2018 7:50 am

Waste a delicious oyster by not chewing it and getting all the good taste? If you like oysters, you munch them.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  HotScot
November 30, 2018 8:02 am


I was going to agree with your correction to my error, but then thinking about it decided that slithering a tasteless lump of slimy shellfish down one’s gullet was for whimps and “real” men or women should all follow Daryl Hannah’s excellent example on how to eat lobster and other seafood in the film “Splash”.

Bruce Cobb
November 30, 2018 5:22 am

Climate Change and Space Alien Change (SAC™) are very much alike, in that they both pose significant threats to, well everything and anything good. For example, studies show that Climate/Space Alien Change (CSAC™) threatens ice cream, both in terms of production, nutrition, and also how quickly it melts, though I believe the space alien’s death ray wins hands (or whatever space aliens have) down in that department.
I am super cereal.

November 30, 2018 5:28 am

Love it!

Not only do they get funding by adding “The Effect of Climate Change on ” to their grant proposal, they even get to feast on oysters as part of it.

Well done working the system.

November 30, 2018 5:40 am

I am sure that this will be of great concern, and “worse than we thougt” at the up comming giga social event in poland next month.
May be some climate compensation for some pacific islands could solve the problem?

November 30, 2018 5:47 am

Alarm, alarm, alarm….a significant proportion of the world’s population may become nutritionally deprived due to lower fat and protein levels in oysters.
Oh, really ?

Let them eat caviar.

November 30, 2018 5:49 am

Did they measure natural temporal variations in the pH, CO2 content, temperature and so forth of typical oyster beds and then reproduce and elevate the natural variations in their tanks? Or did they just keep everything constant in their tanks except for pH an CO2. If the latter, the experiments seem useless to me.

Reply to  DHR
November 30, 2018 6:28 am

can’t lower pH without lowering buffer first….it’s the lack of carbonates

November 30, 2018 5:58 am

I hope I’m still around during the next inevitable .25 C cooling trend…the only event to my mind capable of rescuing real science. The truth is such a precious thing, and I want to witness the suffering of the establishment that has no regard for truth that stands in the way of their illegitimate power.

The universities (1 of the 3 legs of liberalism…namely the bastardization of education, media, and law) have become entirely dependent on a shameful student loan system AND looting (their 40-50% take) from AWG research grants and the like.

I pray that both of these atrocious funding sources decline sufficiently to inflict enough pain upon these bastions of socialism for just reconciliation.

Reply to  DocSiders
November 30, 2018 6:59 am


If you think about it, the admission that the climate alarmists are failing in their quest for, well, whatever is evident in their lowering of future temperature projections from 3.0°C to 2.5°C, then 2.0°C, all accomplished fairly quietly over the years.

Firstly, 3.0°C was considered the catastrophic threshold, and so on………

So when observed temperatures didn’t do what they wanted, and continued not doing what they wanted, they finally had to admit defeat and tell the world that 1.5°C is the new catastrophic threshold. There is of course, a trend here, I’m sure you see it.

Quite why the catastrophic consequences shifted from 3.0°C and 1.5°C remains a mystery to me, unless their initial assessment of man’s ability to withstand heat ranges was wrong, in which case, why are they right now?

But as admitting that 1.5°C warming actually wasn’t that bad, and that observed temperatures still aren’t doing what they want, they had to make a final stand.

They couldn’t possibly admit they were wrong all along, pack everything up and find themselves real jobs, they simply had to invent an enormous, ‘convincing’ scare story this time because they must make earth’s inhabitants comply with their demands before they are eventually forced to admit defeat.

So they mustered all their worst case scenario ‘science’, tweaked their computer models until they screamed, and recruited their best, and most faithful members of the left wing MSM, to disseminate their scare stories as rapidly and forcefully as possible.

Evidently, we have 12 years to do something about climate catastrophe which, in the scheme of things, is an impossible task as we have achieved nothing in the last 40 years. So far, the only observational effects of increased atmospheric CO2 has been that the planet greened by 14% in 35 years of satellite observations. That’s it.

So what’s next for the alarmist community? If nothing monumentally abnormal happens to the planet in the next 12 years, and we breach the magical 1.5°C threshold, they don’t really have many more places to hide.

Other than, of course, as many here predict, we begin to enter a cooling period where global temperatures retreat convincingly from 1.5°C of warming at which point they will announce their success of their carbon taxing policies and renewables installations. At which time we’ll all be told to redouble our efforts to pay more money and suffer the consequences of intermittent energy because it’s working.

I have said in the past that it’s ironic that the sceptical community must pray for what they don’t want, which is a cooler planet. If my suspicions above are correct, we should now be hoping for what we do want, which is a warmer planet thereby debunking everything the climate alarmists maintain about a catastrophic 1.5°C of warming, leaving them with egg on their face.

Reply to  HotScot
November 30, 2018 7:25 am

Good points… all.

You have convinced me.

But my heart needs to witness the substantial humiliating discreditating these scoundrels deserve…and I fear the just punishment will be tempered without some global cooling which even the most uneducated prole will acknowledge as proof of utter incompetance.

Reply to  DocSiders
November 30, 2018 7:53 am


Agree 100%. But as usual, the buck stops nowhere in climate alarm circles. The real culprits will have made off with their money to their beachside properties and the ones left will be the compliant, gullible minions who will take the fall.

And even that fall will be nothing to be concerned about because they’ll merely point to the perpetrators who’ll shrug their shoulders and hide behind their fake science saying “we acted on the information we had to hand”.

November 30, 2018 5:59 am

Just wait until they get to the study that global warming could diminish orgasm intensity. Wait for it.. it’s coming.

Reply to  icisil
November 30, 2018 6:12 am

Now that I think about it, I think this study is a dog whistle to agitate the male gay community.

John Tillman
November 30, 2018 6:04 am

Clearly, oysters have lost their potency since the Little Ice Age:

November 30, 2018 6:21 am

On the movie’s first run I saw it 5 times.
And that scene was hysterical.
Still one of my favourites.

George Ellis
November 30, 2018 7:00 am

Were they tested in months with or without a “R”? They say tasted was not effected, but oyster lovers (like Gulf of Mexico ones) know that warm summer months lead to tasteless, watery oysters until it cools down again. Not believing them.

Harry Robinson
November 30, 2018 7:01 am

Don’t you just love this type of studies? GW “could” impact, bla bla bla. We “could” be hit with a giant asteroid next month.

HD Hoese
November 30, 2018 7:24 am

From the abstract
“…..enhanced accumulation of copper in M. gigas may be of concern regarding consumption safety.”

The paper is paywalled, but I will eventually get it. I am still a member of the National Shellfisheries Association from work I did after my master’s almost 6 decades ago at the then Virginia Fisheries Laboratory (now Institute of Marine Science putting out fish skeletons on Google Earth, but I digress). I just got the last issue of their journal whose lead article is on the life cycle of MSX, a sporozoan parasite, probably exotic, that appeared and caused extensive mortality first in Delaware and then Chesapeake Bays in the late 50s-early 60s.

The MSX life cycle is still unknown 6 decades later, the paper examining rDNA signatures by PCR hybridization in water, sediment, (some positive) and some associated macroinvertebrates (negative). The main American oyster (Crassostrea) scavenger is a fish (goby) and similar fishes occur elsewhere using shells to deposit their eggs. The European and others (Flat) oysters (Ostrea, Magallana) are different and are considered (tastewise) inferior, noted by the early 17th century French explorers in Louisiana.

Similarly green oysters from copper (also can be green in gills from phytoplankton) showing in all their tissues, have been known since forever, and have even been suggested to enhance their taste. I have eaten all these, and a couple of others, but never a green one, although I have seen them. Oyster accumulate everything, but are good at depuration.

I mention all this because all this appears to be another casualty of the technological (DNA etc.) and environmental revolutions (blame humans). MSX cannot be transmitted directly, but a 1960s experiment at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory was apparently successful but the presumed intermediate host (usual for Sporozoa, malaria the best known) was not determined. Apparently no gross anatomy experiment has been done since, despite its long success in determining life cycles, including one on another Sporozoan oyster parasite.

Also, this may be a victim of the current sequestration fad, oyster shells to collect the demons, first nitrogen, now even carbon dioxide. Apparently they have no knowledge of thermodynamics, like mass balance, and there is, as they say, a robust literature on shell longevity and chemistry. It might work a little if we go back to putting oyster shells on roads.

The Chesapeake situation is complex, blamed on overfishing, hypoxia, and they even tried another exotic oyster, failed, an experiment also tried and rapidly abandoned in the early 1940s in Louisiana. Homework is not a strong discipline anymore. There is a lot more, but have to end with this (1877, translation mine) from the German biologist Karl Möbius, who coined the word biocoenosis from studies of the European oyster, which led to the ecosystem idea.

“When great numbers of oysters from the rich banks of Cancale, Rochefort, Marennes and d’Oléron were removed, as many living places and nourishment were available as before, and so great numbers of cockles and mussels appeared. The Biocoenoses of the former French oyster banks were totally changed through overfishing. Not until the numbers of cockles and mussels return to their originally small existence, can the same numbers of oysters be rebuilt because the bottoms are already used by other mollusks taking away the nourishment.”

November 30, 2018 7:26 am

We used to get all sorts of “given global warming, . . . .” studies.

Looks like we are now going to get “given global warming AND ocean acidification, . . . .” studies.

What’s next?

“Given global warming AND ocean acidification AND declining oxygen levels, . . . .” studies?

November 30, 2018 8:01 am

This raises the question, while it is not reasonable to eat oyster shells, is there a problem with eating prawn shells? Obviously eating prawn heads may be a bit hard, and there is not much nutrition in prawn tails, but eating the rest, the overlocking shell segments with the internal meat makes them quite crunchy and delicious. Am I the only person who enjoys the shells?

There are apparently no effects in the stomach and lower down – are the shells completely dissolved in the stomach acid?

November 30, 2018 9:31 am

Reduced lipids (“fat”) & reduced carbohydrate oysters will satisfy a lot of dueling dietary advocates. On alternate blogs we’ll see them touted as the ideal “low carb” or the superb “low fat” ingredient.

Reply to  gringojay
November 30, 2018 10:50 am

Great marketing idea!!!!

James Bull
November 30, 2018 10:32 am

If and I repeat if the oceans warmed by the amount stated with the rise in CO2 as well how do they think the little critters cope with diurnal and seasonal changes in both these supposed stressors that are going to do them such harm in a hundred years time.

James Bull

Jim Ross
Reply to  James Bull
November 30, 2018 12:53 pm

In addition, if you check out my link above, you will see that the seasonal changes in oceanic CO2 can completely dwarf the relatively small seasonal changes in atmospheric CO2 (as well as the circa 2 ppm per year growth rate).

November 30, 2018 11:37 am

We grow oysters under our dock on the southern Chesapeake Bay. The worst thing for them is nutrient pollution of the water, which slows down their growth tremendously. The second is salinity changes mostly due to heavy rains (or no rains).

The water temperatures don’t seem to matter much unless it gets too cold in the winter. We get skim ice occasionally and the oysters that get exposed to the ice can die. The ones deeper make it through just fine.

November 30, 2018 10:33 pm

“The oysters were subjected to six different sets of ocean conditions over a 12-week period, from current temperatures and CO2 levels to the increased measurements predicted for both the middle and end of the century.”

This is akin to doll houses and play sets. Only she is using, or misusing, far more complex saltwater aquariums for her doll house and nutrient dependent animals as her dolls.

Then she subjects the critters to higher CO₂ and higher temperatures according to prophesied temperatures according to some model gospel. Unstated in this press research, and frankly, I’m not interested in chasing her imaginary future temperatures down.

The bald fact is that water temperatures where oysters live have barely changed. NOAA changed their temperatures to joules, so the numbers would sound scary. It also allowed NOAA to hide the fact that most of their claimed temperature increases were within instrument error ranges.

All of which makes Dr Anaëlle Lemasson’s playing with little oyster dolls, unverified, untested, uncertified, unreplicated, un-independent verified.

What’s amazing is that she got paid for this playtime.

December 1, 2018 6:55 pm

Anyone who will eat a lump of living snot deserves everything they get.

December 1, 2018 8:34 pm

So they took current oysters and subjected them (with no time for adaption) to conditions that might occur decades from now? This is science?

I could take 5 year-olds and ask them to drive a car, like they might in 10 or 20 years, and then conclude that it is impossible that they will be able to drive cars in the future.

Johann Wundersamer
December 4, 2018 8:20 pm

The nutritional qualities of shellfish could be significantly reduced by future ocean acidification and warming, a new study suggests.

Research has previously shown that climate change could threaten future production, safety and quality by negatively impacting the fitness of marine species.

The oysters were subjected to six different sets of ocean conditions over a 12-week period.

the next study will expose test sheep 6 different falling Heights to determine the resulting damages.

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