Ocean 'acidification' threatens mussels?

Guess which “scientists” at University of California-Davis have apparently never heard of natural selection?

They would be Brian Gaylord, Tessa M. Hill, Eric Sanford, Elizabeth A. Lenz, Lisa A. Jacobs, Kirk N. Sato, Ann D. Russell and Annaliese Hettinger.

Gaylord et al. claim in a new study in the Journal of Experimental Biology that much-dreaded ocean “acidification” will seriously impact mussel populations.

There is of course no evidence of this phenomenon so far even though, as Gaylord et al. point out:

Since the birth of the industrial revolution, ocean pH has dropped by 0.1 units. That might not sound like much until you realise that a 0.1 unit fall is a 30% increase in acidity.

To prove reality wrong, however, Gaylord et al. performed the following lab exercise:

Growing freshly fertilized M. californianus larvae in seawater laced with carbon dioxide ranging from the modern level of 380 p.p.m.CO2 up to a ‘fossil-fuel intensive’ scenario of 970 p.p.m.CO2, the team allowed the larvae to develop for 8 days. Then they analysed the strength, size and thickness of the larvae’s shells and found that acidification of the mollusc’s seawater has a strong impact on shell strength. Shockingly, the shells of 5 day old larvae raised in 970 p.p.m.CO2 were 20% weaker than those of larvae reared at the current CO2 level, while the shells of larvae reared at 540 p.p.m.CO2 were only 13% weaker. The team also found that after 8 days at 970 p.p.m.CO2 the shells were up to 15% thinner and 5% smaller, and the body masses of the molluscs within the shell were as much as 33% smaller than those of mussels grown at modern CO2 levels.

But even if these results were produced in the manner described and even if they represented significant developmental effects, it wouldn’t necessarily be all that surprising that mussel larvae adapted to 380-ppm-CO2 seawater might at least temporarily be shocked and/or affected by suddenly being thrust into 540-ppm-CO2 and 970-ppm-CO2 seawater. Certainly a few days is hardly enough time to adapt for larvae to such dramatically new conditions.

In any event, if seawater pH were to decline because of increased atmospheric CO2, that decline would be gradual and mussel populations would more than likely adapt — just as they have since pre-industrial days when atmospheric CO2 levels were one-third less than today.

Adaptation and “natural selection” are key mechanisms of evolution — or don’t they teach that at UC-Davis anymore?

Let’s also keep in mind that coastal sealife are routinely subjected to dramatically changing conditions — including pH, temperature, salinity and turbidity — and they survive.

Finally, a study in Nature Geoscience reported last week that,

The ocean is taking up less carbon because of the warming caused by the carbon in the atmosphere.

So there is even disagreement among the climate fretters about the future of ocean “acidification.”

So forget climate change — Italian restaurants are a more certain, imminent and dire threat to mussels.

To end on a positive note (for those who care about such things), I give these climate alarmists credit for trying an actual experiment. They way over-interpreted their results, but at least they didn’t reduce science to an exercise in computer modeling predetermination.

5 thoughts on “Ocean 'acidification' threatens mussels?”

  1. Of course these ridiculous lab experiments bear no relation to reality in the oceans, which have huge natural buffering capacity because of the rock basins in which they sit and millions of years of calcium carbonate from skeletons of departed sea creatures. There is a video on the NOAA website with Jane Lubchenko adding vinegar to a flask containing some coral. It fizzes, it bubbles, ocean acidification proven!

    The 30% claim is from Caldeira and Wicket 2003, the basis of all the hype is a calculation from an estimate, which gives a precise figure of 0.1pH decrease, they don’t even know the consequences of changes in pH, and the conclusions they reach are based on an extrapolation of eighteen years of data from one Pacific ocean station.

    For more detail on the acid oceans fraud check here:
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/acid_seas.html

  2. The team’s first assertion is a lie. Ocean PH has varied from 7.9, to 8.3 for several thousand years. This is the normal variation in sea water alkalinity. The claim that acidification has been going on since the industrial revolution is bogus.

    The last time ocean PH was at it’s lowest, (7.9) was in 1930. It then steadily rose (more alkaline) until about 25 years ago, when it reached about 8.2. It is currently at 8.05. I might raise an eyebrow if it falls below the historic low.

    Like global warming, the alarmists take advantage of a natural climate cycle to claim it is anthropogenic related. If they cannot find a legitimate problem to bring in the grant money, they will invent one.

  3. The *report* discusses effects of ocean “acidification” [called pH], but the *experiment* describes a study in the effects of ocean “carbonation”[called pCO2].
    If you can show me a chemist who asserts that the two are identical, I will call him an IDIOT.

  4. The next time I hear someone talk about the oceans becoming “Saturated” with CO2, I will scream. Gas absorption in a liquid is directly proportional to the concentration. It won’t suddenly stop absorbing at some concentration.

    Also, I second Tom’s derision at the equivalence of CO2 and acidification. The oceans are biologically and chemically buffered, so the pH change is significantly reduced over the long term. If this had been done over the course of several generations of mussels in a tank that had been kept constantly at high CO2 levels, then I would be concerned. However, this experiment is so flawed that it isn’t even wrong.

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