Is the ocean already acidic enough to drive out mussels? NPR reported this morning on a new study that attributed falling mussel populations on Tatoosh Island, WA (a famous intertidal ecology site that’s been monitored since the 1960s) to decreasing pH.
Ocean chemistry measured from Tatoosh Island found that the ocean there is becoming acidic 10 times faster than expected, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And the study’s author J. Timothy Wootton says the island’s ecosystem is changing rapidly as a result.
During an eight-year period, he says, 10 to 20 percent of the mussels on the island have been replaced by acid-tolerant algae.
It’s based on this PNAS article, which was published online yesterday. The authors use a bunch of fancy multispecies Markov chain models to prove the correlation between declining mussel cover and acidification, but unfortunately I have neither the knowledge (working on it!) or the time today to really delve into it. Anyone out there have an opinion? Paging JEByrnes…