Can oysters survive ocean acidification?

“You have good and bad weeks, but this was a blanket kill on everything we tried to do,” recalls Wiegardt. “We thought we were going out of business because we couldn’t make the larvae grow.”

It turned out that “corrosive” seawater, which makes it harder for young oysters to build shells, was largely to blame. Like the atmosphere, the world’s seas are burdened by our fossil fuel use and deforestation. The ocean has sponged up a quarter of the carbon dioxide humans have produced since the Industrial Revolution, steadily lowering its pH. Today’s seas are 30 percent more acidic than their pre-industrial ancestors. By the turn of the century, scientists anticipate they will be 150 percent more so — a trend that led National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chief Jane Lubchenco to call ocean acidification climate change’s “equally evil twin.”

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