Are we Pickling our Oysters?
Sir Winston Churchill Secondary
Floor Location : M 095 V
Ocean Acidification is a complex problem that is affecting many marine animals all over the world and in our backyard, the Georgia Strait. Oysters are particularly affected because they are calcifiers by nature. I wanted to better understand the magnitude of the challenges that oysters face today. Therefore, I conducted an experiment where 100 oysters grew in either ocean water at a pH of 7.7 (unmodified ocean water) and buffered ocean water used by oyster hatcheries with a pH of 8.8. The buffered ocean water is similar to what would have been found in our oceans 200 years ago. The oysters grew in tanks with 15 other oysters over the course of 18 days. The results of my experiment showed that the oysters in the buffered water grew twice as fast as those in the untreated water. This difference in growth rate in groundbreaking in this field because the water found in the ocean on the day that the water samples was of a mild pH. It is not uncommon to find pH's much lower even one week prior. The low growth rate, as well as survivability of oysters, will have not only ecologically but economically detrimental effects for British Colombia. The shellfish industry while small is an industry that rural British Colombians rely on and urban British Colombians accept.