Hamlin, Harrington speak with WVII about lobster research

WVII (Channel 7) interviewed scientists at the University of Maine’s Aquaculture Research Center about how increased water temperature and acidity may be affecting Maine’s lobsters. “We know that ocean acidification is increasing. We know that temperature is increasing. We’re trying to look at these end-century predicted temperatures and pHs,” said Heather Hamlin, an associate professor in the UMaine School of Marine Sciences. Amalia Harrington, a postdoctoral researcher in Hamlin’s lab, has been studying lobsters for several years. Harrington said the Gulf of Maine is warming much faster than other regions in the world. “It’s also experiencing these seasonal changes in terms of the chemistry, and that’s making it more acidic,” she said. “We want to know what’s going on inside the animals. We look at their blood chemistry as well as their heart rate.” Through early research, after increasing temperature and acidity in the water, Harrington found how some of these conditions could impact adolescent female lobsters, the report states. “Those animals that experienced a more acidic environment that could be occurring at the end of the century in the Gulf of Maine, they have a lower tolerance, so they can’t maintain heart function at as high of a temperature as those lobsters under current conditions when it comes to pH,” said Harrington, who is now trying to understand the long-term effect on the species. “Down the line, I’d really like to look at if they are investing as much energy into reproduction as you would hope to have a successful next generation of lobsters,” she said.