Ocean Acidification Research
Ocean Acidification (OA) is a major issue impacting our oceans and planet. Oceans have an incredible ability to absorb carbon dioxide, removing around thirty percent of it from our atmosphere like a giant sponge. There is now so much carbon dioxide being soaked up by the oceans that their chemistry and pH levels are being altered. Not surprisingly, the lives of shellfish are closely tied to ocean chemistry. Shellfish have evolved to build their protective shells from calcium carbonate that is available in the marine environment.
In 2012, Hog Island began a serendipitous partnership with Dr. Tessa Hill, UC Davis Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute monitoring Ocean Acidification in Tomales Bay. With funding from NOAA, the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) installed a cutting edge OA instrument (nicknamed the “Burkolator” after its inventor Professor Burke Hales). The monitoring effort is led by Dr. Tessa Hill and allows researchers to better track the impacts of ocean acidification on shellfish aquaculture. A second “Burkolator” has been installed at the Hog Island facility in Humboldt Bay, in collaboration with Dr. Joe Tyburczy of California SeaGrant.