Mollusk

How do oysters spell climate change relief? A-N-T-A-C-I-D

Publication: NBC News   Date: June 12, 2013   View Article

Oyster hatcheries are dropping the equivalent of Tums and other antacids into water to make it easier for naked mollusk larvae to build their shells. The remedy is working, for now, to keep hatcheries in business and oyster bars well stocked with the slimy delicacies, a hatchery scientist said.

Heartburn for the shellfish industry comes from ocean waters turning ever more corrosive as they absorb a fraction of the carbon dioxide humans are pumping into the atmosphere. The acidification, in turn, makes it harder for oyster larvae to build their shells.

The hatcheries’ antacid, sodium carbonate, makes the water less acidic and “raises the amount of carbonate in the water, which is what the shellfish are using,” Benoit Eudeline, the chief hatchery scientist at Taylor Shellfish Company in Quilcene, Wash., told NBC News.

Black Abalone Withering Towards Extinction

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 9, 2005   View Article

Black abalone used to be the most abundant shellfish clinging to the rocks in the intertidal zone from Baja California to Oregon. Now they are all but gone in the southern reaches of their range and beginning to disappear in the north, too.

The intertidal zone is the region where the surf meets the land. Organisms that live there are pounded by waves, blasted by sunlight, and endure wide fluctuations in temperature driven by the rise and fall of the tides.

Watch Your Step: Study Shows Life in Tidal Areas at Risk

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 25, 2005   View Article

A clamber along a rocky tidepool may seem like a harmless way to while away the hours during these dog days of summer. But some marine scientists urge caution on behalf of the organisms that live there.

The organisms that live in the intertidal region—the zone where the ocean meets the land—appear a hardy lot at first glance: They’re pounded by the surf, live in and out of water, endure extreme temperature changes, and are blasted by sunlight.

Flesh-Eating Caterpillars Discovered in Hawaii

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 21, 2005   View Article

In Hawaiian rain forests, scientists have discovered caterpillars with a taste for escargot: They trap snails on leaves using silk webbing and then eat them alive.

These are the first caterpillars known to eat snails or mollusks of any kind, an evolutionary adaptation likely enabled by the island chain’s isolation. The insects are also the first caterpillars known to use silk to ensnare prey in a spiderlike fashion.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach