Kelp mitigates ocean acidification, a key to the well being and abundance of necessary shellfish

Kelp mitigates ocean acidification, a key to the health and abundance of important shellfish
Mike Doall and oyster farmer Paul McCormick with kelp grown on the Nice Gun oyster farm. Credit score: Professor Christopher Gobler

Whereas kelp is called a nutritious meals merchandise for sea creatures and people alike, harvesting kelp could also be a brand new method to assist preserve bivalves equivalent to clams and oysters—a extra widespread meals supply and marine trade staple—wholesome and extra ample. A brand new examine led by Christopher Gobler, Ph.D., and a workforce of scientists on the Stony Brook College Faculty of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) exhibits that the presence of kelp considerably reduces ocean acidification, a results of local weather change.


Printed in Frontiers in Marine Science, the examine additionally demonstrated that the deployment of kelp on an oyster farm nullifies ocean acidification and due to this fact protects bivalves in opposition to acidification. The method may have further ecosystem and aquaculture advantages, together with the sequestration and extraction of carbon and nitrogen, and safety in opposition to dangerous algae blooms.

For shellfish, one of the vital severe local weather change-related threats is ocean acidification. Carbon dioxide or CO2 ranges in Earth’s environment proceed to rise, infiltrating oceans the place it causes chemical reactions that decrease pH and trigger ocean acidification. For the previous 20 years, one of the vital strong conclusions of ocean local weather change analysis has been that rising ranges of CO2 in surface waters threaten shellfish that depend on greater pH waters to develop and survive. This menace is especially acute in coastal zones the place further sources of acidity can additional cut back pH and sluggish shell formation in shellfish, particularly bivalves. And whereas many wild populations of bivalves have collapsed, a burgeoning wave of aquaculture within the U.S. and around the globe has brought about the worldwide manufacturing of seafood through aquaculture to develop and now exceed wild seize.

“Regardless of this wave of aquaculture, the intensification of ocean acidification now threatens bivalve aquaculture and has necessitated an answer,” explains Professor Gobler, the Endowed Chair of Coastal Ecology and Conservation at SoMAS. “We imagine our work is foundational to an answer.”


Kelp mitigates ocean acidification, a key to the health and abundance of important shellfish
pH scale measurements with and with out kelp. The graph exhibits steady pH (NBS scale) effervescent, and the addition of 4 x 104 cells mL-1 Isochrysis galbana added every day to simulate every day feedings of bivalves. Credit score: Professor Christopher Gobler

Within the examine, titled “Kelp (Saccharina latissima) Mitigates Coastal Ocean Acidification and Will increase the Development of North Atlantic Bivalves in Lab Experiments and on an Oyster Farm,” Professor Gobler and colleagues carried out six experiments to evaluate the consequences of elevated CO2 and presence of kelp (S. latissima) on the growth rates of three completely different species of bivalves: (Jap oysters (Crassostrea virginica), blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), and laborious clams / Northern quahogs (Mercenaria mercenaria).


In every of the experiments, acidification was considerably lowered with the cultivation of kelp. They furthered the analysis with the final word check—a discipline experiment on the Nice Gun oyster farm in Moriches Bay, New York.

They discovered that in a one-month deployment, oysters that had been surrounded by kelp loved greater pH water and grew considerably sooner than particular person shellfish situated additional away the place the pH of the water was considerably decrease.


Professor Gobler and colleagues emphasize that these findings have highly effective implications for oyster farming in coastal zones.

“We now have been witnessing coastal ocean acidification for years and have documented its potential to sluggish the expansion, and even kill off, shellfish. We started rising kelp on oyster farms to easily broaden aquaculture, regionally. After seeing its potential to quickly take up CO2 and enhance low pH circumstances, we knew it had the potential to profit shellfish experiencing acidification. And whereas exhibiting that within the lab was thrilling, having the ability to enhance the expansion of oysters on an oyster farm experiencing coastal acidification proves this strategy can have very broad purposes,” explains Professor Gobler.

General, the analysis clearly exhibits, based on the authors, that “the cultivation of kelp constitutes an environmentally pleasant technique of defending shellfisheries in opposition to current and future ocean acidification and different coastal stressors.”

Constructing on the work, serving to the oyster farms

“We have helped develop kelp on 10 oyster farms throughout New York since 2018 and increasingly aquaculturists have been hoping to include kelp into their farms,” says Mike Doall, Affiliate Director of Shellfish Restoration and Aquaculture at Stony Brook College. “Along with offering crop diversification and additive income streams, the power of kelp to combat ocean acidification offers these oyster farmers another reason so as to add kelp as a second crop.”

The latest examine builds on different analysis by the identical SoMAS group, which printed a examine in Dangerous Algae in 2021. That examine demonstrated that kelp has the power to discourage the depth of dangerous algal blooms, one other environmental menace to shellfish aquaculture.

Such situations with kelp seem to create a win-win situation for oyster farmers like Paul McCormick, proprietor of the Nice Gun oyster farm the place the present examine was carried out.

“Kelp seems to be the proper complement to oysters on my farm,” says McCormick. “It grows throughout winter and spring, when the oysters want much less consideration, and there’s a lot of curiosity in kelp from eating places. Whether it is providing safety to my oysters in opposition to poor water high quality, properly that is one other good purpose so as to add it to my farm.”

Farmed oysters able to protect themselves from acidification

Extra info:
Craig S. Younger et al, Kelp (Saccharina latissima) Mitigates Coastal Ocean Acidification and Will increase the Development of North Atlantic Bivalves in Lab Experiments and on an Oyster Farm, Frontiers in Marine Science (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2022.881254

Kelp mitigates ocean acidification, a key to the well being and abundance of necessary shellfish (2022, June 6)
retrieved 6 June 2022

This doc is topic to copyright. Aside from any truthful dealing for the aim of personal examine or analysis, no
half could also be reproduced with out the written permission. The content material is offered for info functions solely.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Adblock Detected

To browse our website, please disable your Ablocker.