Model being developed to predict acidification’s impacts on Dungeness crab

Posted February 2, 2018
SCCWRP is part of a research team that will examine how ocean acidification is impacting Dungeness crab in the Pacific Northwest. This commercially important species relies on minerals in seawater to form its protective outer shell; the supply of these minerals is decreasing as a result of ocean acidification.

A group of researchers, including SCCWRP, has launched a three-year project to develop a model that predicts impacts on the Pacific Northwest Dungeness crab industry from ocean acidification.

The project, which runs through fall 2019, involves developing thresholds of impairment for crab larvae and modeling their exposure to corrosive seawater conditions. Ocean acidification will lower the supply of minerals in seawater that the larvae depend on to form their protective outer shells.

Dungeness crab is a commercially important species across the West Coast; in California, annual commercial landings are valued at $83 million.

During the study, researchers will document evidence of shell dissolution using scanning electron micrographs.

The study’s findings are intended to support important discussions about best management practices for fisheries and ecologically protected coastal zones in the face of intensifying acidification.

More news related to: Climate Change, Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia