Researchers Collaborate to Study Impact of Ocean Acidification on Northeast Fisheries, Develop Management Tools


A multi-institution team led by UConn researchers is using computer modeling and biological research to help northeast scallop fisheries facing the threat of ocean acidification.

The $1,034,822 project sponsored by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Acidification Program includes researchers from the University of Connecticut, NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF), and Rutgers University.

Scallops are an economically and culturally significant resource for coastal communities in New England. Worth more than $500 million per year, scallops are the second most valuable fishery in the Northeast. Unfortunately, scallops are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification is the process by which the ocean gradually increases in acidity as it absorbs excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a direct result of humans burning fossil fuels. Acidification reduces the amount of available calcium carbonate in the water. Many ocean-dwelling organisms, including scallops, need calcium carbonate to build their shells. The energy an organism has for growth and other physiological processes can also be affected by ocean acidification.

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