Upwelling of Acidified Water: Not Just an Issue for Shellfish Hatcheries on the West Coast of the US

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Matthew Poach, NOAA Highlands, Highlands, NJ, United States, Daphne Munroe, Rutgers University Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Port Norris, NJ, United States and Ian Abrahamsen, University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Campus, Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Periodic upwelling events are known to occur off the coast of New Jersey during the summer. As with upwelling off the US West Coast, these events can transport acidified water to the surface and shoreward. To determine if upwelling events have the potential to impact shellfish hatcheries in New Jersey, a monitoring study was conducted at the Aquaculture Innovation Center (AIC) of Rutgers University. The AIC is an important hatchery supporting the New Jersey oyster aquaculture industry through the production of disease resistant seed oysters. Starting in June of 2014, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and pH were continuously monitored at the AIC’s intake pipe. Periodic grab samples were also collected at the intake and at locations within the facility. Grab samples were preserved and analyzed for pH and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). DIC and pH were used to calculate the aragonite saturation state of the sampled water. During an upwelling event in early July a drop in pH was measured at the intake. Grab samples showed that water of lower pH and aragonite saturation was entering the facility. These results show that hatcheries along the NJ coast need to be aware that upwelling events may bring conditions detrimental for shellfish production.