Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 221–231

Biocalcification in the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) in Relation to Long-term Trends in Chesapeake Bay pH

  • George G. Waldbusser
  • Erin P. Voigt
  • Heather Bergschneider
  • Mark A. Green
  • Roger I. E. Newell
Note

DOI: 10.1007/s12237-010-9307-0

Cite this article as:
Waldbusser, G.G., Voigt, E.P., Bergschneider, H. et al. Estuaries and Coasts (2011) 34: 221. doi:10.1007/s12237-010-9307-0

Abstract

Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduce pH of marine waters due to the absorption of atmospheric CO2 and formation of carbonic acid. Estuarine waters are more susceptible to acidification because they are subject to multiple acid sources and are less buffered than marine waters. Consequently, estuarine shell forming species may experience acidification sooner than marine species although the tolerance of estuarine calcifiers to pH changes is poorly understood. We analyzed 23 years of Chesapeake Bay water quality monitoring data and found that daytime average pH significantly decreased across polyhaline waters although pH has not significantly changed across mesohaline waters. In some tributaries that once supported large oyster populations, pH is increasing. Current average conditions within some tributaries however correspond to values that we found in laboratory studies to reduce oyster biocalcification rates or resulted in net shell dissolution. Calcification rates of juvenile eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica, were measured in laboratory studies in a three-way factorial design with 3 pH levels, two salinities, and two temperatures. Biocalcification declined significantly with a reduction of ∼0.5 pH units and higher temperature and salinity mitigated the decrease in biocalcification.

Keywords

Biocalcification Bivalve Chesapeake Bay Estuarine acidification Oyster pH 

Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • George G. Waldbusser
    • 1
  • Erin P. Voigt
    • 2
  • Heather Bergschneider
    • 1
  • Mark A. Green
    • 3
  • Roger I. E. Newell
    • 4
  1. 1.College of Oceanic and Atmospheric SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Southeast Coast Inventory and Monitoring NetworkFort Sumter National MonumentSullivan’s IslandUSA
  3. 3.Division of Natural SciencesSt. Joseph’s College of MaineStandishUSA
  4. 4.Horn Point LaboratoryUniversity of Maryland Center for Environmental ScienceCambridgeUSA