Publications / Research

Impacts of ocean acidification on marine seafood

Impacts of ocean acidification on marine seafood

Trevor Branch (SAFS), Liza Ray (SAFS), Bonnie DeJoseph (SEMA), and
Cherie Wagner (SMEA)

A review of the effects of ocean acidification that arose from
graduate student participants in the 2011 Bevan Series on Sustainable
Seafood has just been published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Ocean acidification is a series of chemical reactions due to
increased CO2 emissions. The resulting lower pH impairs the senses of
reef fishes and reduces their survival, and might similarly impact
commercially targeted fishes that produce most of the seafood eaten by
humans. Shelled molluscs will also be negatively affected, whereas
cephalopods and crustaceans will remain largely unscathed. Habitat
changes will reduce seafood production from coral reefs, but increase
production from seagrass and seaweed. Overall effects of ocean
acidification on primary productivity and, hence, on food webs will
result in hard-to-predict winners and losers. Although adaptation,
parental  effects, and evolution can mitigate some effects of ocean
acidification, future seafood platters will look rather different
unless CO2 emissions are curbed.