Millions of pounds of Dungeness crab are pulled from Pacific Northwest waters each year in a more than century-old ritual for commercial and recreational fishermen.

But as marine waters absorb more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, federal scientists are worried that the ocean’s changing chemistry may threaten the sweet-flavored crustaceans.

So scientists with the NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center are exposing tiny crab larvae to acidic seawater in laboratory experiments to understand how ocean acidification might affect one of the West Coast’s most lucrative fisheries.

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