UMaine researchers find rising ocean temps and acidity levels can make lobsters vulnerable
ORONO, Maine (WABI) -
A team of researchers at the University of Maine have found rising ocean temperatures and decreasing pH levels can make lobsters vulnerable.
The researchers conducted an experiment in which they exposed lobsters to what ocean water temperatures and pH levels are predicted to reach by the end of the century.
After 42 days of studying several different groups of lobsters, the team found the crustaceans could face weakened immune responses and reduced thermal tolerance.
That could make lobsters vulnerable to several bacteria that cause loss of limbs and death.
Researchers say this doesn’t mean our lobster populations are on the verge of collapse, but it does suggest we need to continue to be vigilant in surveying lobsters.
“Finding ways and figuring out ways to reduce that stress in that supply chain could be a useful sort of end point of this. Although changing the environment might not be feasible in the short term, obviously there may be things that we can do to potentially reduce the impact,” says Heather Hamlin, Associate Professor of Aquaculture and Marine Sciences at Umaine.
“Maine lobster is the most important fishery to our state. It’s the biggest not just in terms of economic value but also to our way of life,” says Amalia Harrington, a Marine Extension Associate with Maine Sea Grant.
The team with Maine Sea Grant and UMaine say their researchers are not only studying the lobsters but the fishery itself and looking at ways to make it a long-lasting industry.
To learn more about the Maine Sea Grant’s American Lobster Initiative visit: https://seagrant.umaine.edu/extension/american-lobster-initiative/
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