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Latest
Changing waters in Humboldt Bay
Written by Deborah Seiler for UC Sea Grant   

12/22/16

 

Humboldt Bay’s clean yet productive waters are one of the main reasons it is home to both extensive eelgrass beds and an expanding shellfish aquaculture industry that generates more than $10 million in sales per year.

 

Yet the aquaculture industry must now contend with a new threat that is altering the chemistry of seawater: ocean acidification. The impact of intensifying ocean acidification on aquaculture in Humboldt Bay, and the extent to which eelgrass may reduce these impacts, is the focus of a new project by California Sea Grant Extension Specialist Dr. Joe Tyburczy and collaborators at Humboldt State University, with funding awarded by the Ocean Protection Council.

 

The team, which includes industry partner Terry Sawyer of Hog Island Oyster Company, will install a state-of-the-art monitoring instrument called a Burkolator to track Humboldt Bay’s carbonate chemistry at the company’s new oyster hatchery. The researchers will place additional sensors in coastal waters outside the bay and establish the first bay-wide monitoring program for eelgrass.

“Our goal is to provide the aquaculture industry and environmental permitting agencies with data and information that will help them develop win-win scenarios – ones that allow the aquaculture industry to expand, while at the same time minimizing impacts on eelgrass and the services it provides,” said Tyburczy.

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