Fish Radio
May 24, 2013   Fleets to help with buoys, Ocean acidity studies

Pteropods are very sensitive to ocean acidity. They make up 50% of young pink salmon diets.  Credit: R.Hopscroft/UAF

Pteropods are very sensitive to ocean acidity. They make up 50% of young pink salmon diets.
Credit: R.Hopscroft/UAF

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … New buoys and Alaska fishermen will track ocean chemistry. And some good news for pollock ––    

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 Armed with a nearly $3 million show of support from the state of Alaska, high tech buoys will soon be deployed that measure ocean acidity levels all year, and relay it back to labs via satellite.

 Cut: Rather than going out once or twice a year to an area where we make a discreet measurement, literally take a bottle of water at that day at a given time and make measurements, we are able to get a full year snapshot of what is going on. As we do that year after year we can really start to see  how these systems change.

 Jeremy Mathis is a chemical oceanographer and director of the Ocean Acidification Research Center at UAF.  His team of eight is building the equipment with buoys scheduled to be  located in Southeast, Resurrection Bay off Seward, Kodiak, and the Bering Sea.

 Cut: That buoy sits about 100 miles west of Bristol Bay, Right in the middle of the big crab fishery.  So I feel like between those four sites we are able to put resources in where the stakeholders, the fisheries are, and ultimately be able to answer some of those ecosystem questions. 9

 Mathis says the research center will contract with fishermen and vessels for buoy deployments, and maintenance

 Cut; All we need is deck space and a crane – 13

 As well as collecting water samples to help expand the ocean chemistry data base.

 Cut:  We hope to be able to utilize the fleet in these different locations rather than have to charter a research vessel and bring it up from somewhere else, we’re hoping to use the local logistics, where those guys are. 15

  Increased ocean acidity can prevent shells from forming on crabs or oysters and   tiny shrimplike organisms essential to fish diets.  Data from this project will be used to model   possible impacts on keystone species in sensitive regions, and quantify costs if they are disrupted.  … One species that appears to be dodging the OA bullet is Alaska pollock.

 Cut; The pollock seem to have quite a bit of resiliency in changes in ocean pH levels. We didn’t see dramatic declines in growth or death rates when we exposed them to the lower pH rates, the more acidic conditions and so we are hoping we can continue research to show that the pollock might have some natural resiliency to changes in ocean conditions. 23

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.      In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.