SMEA Professor Terrie Klinger and SMEA Affiliate Professor Jan Newton are the co-directors of the Washington Ocean Acidification Center. Salish Sea experts — one an ecologist, one an oceanographer — they are addressing one of the biggest emerging threats to our environment today, ocean acidification. Born from a Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel, the Center was established by the legislature at the University of Washington to make sure actions to combat ocean acidification have a strong backbone in science. In Washington, ocean acidification’s threat became visible in the state’s extensive shellfish industry. Corrosive seawater compromises the ability of shellfish to form their shells, especially in the animal’s early days. In years where seawater conditions are persistently harsh, shellfish farmers failed to raise any new oysters to marketable size, and livelihoods were at stake.
Read more about how the work of the Washington Ocean Acidification Center helped give shellfish growers tools to manage issues like corrosive water, and how, according to Klinger “We’re trying to use the lens of ocean acidification to help solve bigger problems.”