His work will move into the estuaries and look at the effects of acidification on oyster production.
Coastal ecosystems are variable; organisms have to adjust their physiology to changes, but that causes stress – and can threaten species survival. Many studies to date don’t take the variability of the natural world into account. Waldbusser is working with Pacific oysters – an almost entirely hatchery-raised shellfish. Oysters have to produce “an incredible amount” of calcium carbonate in the first few days after fertilization. Data shows that shifting winds and temperature can lower pH conditions in hatchery rivers to levels some models forecast fro 100 years from now.
Fulbright scholar and PhD. candidate Iria Gimenez is working on this project to look at the effects of accumulated. acidification stress on the growth and survival of bivalves.
The team plans to expand engagement with stakeholders – hatchery operators and oyster growers, and public perception of ocean acidification.
Ultimately, they hope to develop a Web interface giving others access to the model and data.
MRM student Rebecca Mabardy, meanwhile, is working on lesson plans and potential HMSC Visitor Center exhibitry around the study and the model.