Paul Williams, Suquamish: Ocean Acidification
Paul Williams, Suquamish Tribe – Shellfish management policy advisor
Ocean Acidification is the decrease of the pH in the ocean caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Williams explains a little history of how CO2 has changed over thousands of years and notably, increasing between 1950 and 2010 at Mauna Loa (Hawaii), as well as the Muir Glacier in Alaska receding significantly.
He briefly went through one study that took place on the east coast in 2010, with hardshell clam and bay scallops. Scientists tried to replicate the pH scenarios from decades prior as well as in the future using declining pH levels. Survival declined because shells were affected by pH levels changing, becoming more acidic.
Ocean affects – coastal upwelling of water is linked to high mortality events. salinity is lower when upwelling is low.
He showed models of low pH in southern Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Why aren’t we seeing more impact if they’re are already dying out on the east coast?
What to do about ocean acidification? Solutions – growing lots of plants, preserve or restore habitat, address toxic issues are some. “They’re all the same things we’ve been talking about all day,” he said. But can species survive impacts by OA?
How much will it take to make people change? All it takes is 10 percent. Williams is working with area schools to try and get ocean acidification education into science curriculums and will host a teacher workshop at the end of August on how to use it in the classroom and ask them to monitor how well it works in their classrooms.