Boston Globe Interviews Grad Student About Ocean Acidity Research

Jesica Waller, a University of Maine graduate student, spoke about her research with The Boston Globe for the article, “Rising acid levels in oceans imperil region’s shellfish.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists found a surge of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from fossil fuels has made oceans on average 30 percent more acidic at the surface since the Industrial Revolution, and they predict oceans will become 150 percent more acidic by 2100, according to the article. Waller and researchers at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay are studying the effect of more acidic water on lobster larvae and copepods. Initial findings have shown a decline in respiration rates of the larvae and copepods in waters that simulate the chemistry of the oceans that scientists predict for the next century, the article states. Lower breathing rates could reduce swimming speeds, according to Waller. “That shows us some part of their physiology may be compromised, and that they may be experiencing internal stress,” she said.