In recent years, scientists have warned that climate change could have a disastrous effect on the ocean’s ecosystems as the world’s waters get warmer. But now, a new study suggests that widespread die offs of ocean-going species isn’t the only thing that warmer waters could cause: It might also make some seafood favorites too toxic to eat.
Chances are, most people haven’t heard of domoic acid, but it’s something that could be making more headlines soon enough. That’s because it’s a neurotoxin that can build up in sea creatures that are popular on the dinner table, like Dungeness crab, mussels, clams and anchovies, Clare Leschin-Hoar reports for NPR. And, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, warmer waters lead to algae blooms that can cause elevated levels of this toxin in many of the ocean's critters.
“When water’s unusually warm off our coast, it’s because the circulation and patterns in the atmosphere has changed, bringing warm water from elsewhere—and this is happening at the same time that we also see high domoic acid in shellfish. It has a very strong mechanistic connection,” Morgaine McKibben, study author and Oregon State University doctoral student tells Kavya Balaraman for Scientific American.