As a recent study resurfaces, we learn that many Dungeness crabs’ lives are in danger due to ocean acidification. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explained how our beloved crustaceans from British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington suffered severe damages.
The crabs’ shells were profoundly harmed due to the growth of the acidic Pacific. They were spotted and analyzed only in those regions, so we can imagine the harm could have been done in other areas, as well.
The study first started in 2016, analyzed the larval Dungeness crabs along the West Coast, and identified that their exoskeleton had started to disintegrate after they hatched. Comparable discoveries were spotted back in 2010, albeit in a separate, more complicated class of fauna, known as zooplankton and phytoplankton, two creatures responsible for basically supporting the whole food chain in the oceans.
Ocean Acidification is Affecting Dungeness Crabs
Nina Bednarsek, from the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, detailed: “If [the crabs and other ocean life is] affected already, we really need to make sure we start to pay attention to various components of the food chain before it is too late.”
This finding worries scientists for many reasons, mostly because decreased shells could affect everything from their movement and nutrition, to being able to defend themselves against predators and other harmful factors. Also, their chances of maturing into healthy reproductive creatures are now almost impossible.
Bednarsek added: “If these larval crabs need to divert energy to repair their exoskeletons, and are smaller, as a result, the percentage that makes it to adulthood will be at least variable, and likely go down in the long-term.” Scientists who were part of the research express the need for more examination to find out which are the effects that boost up ocean acidification.