Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions reduce pH of marine waters due to the absorption of atmospheric CO₂ and formation of carbonic acid. Estuarine waters are more susceptible to acidification because they are subject to multiple acid sources and are less buffered than marine waters. Consequently, estuarine shell forming species may experience acidification sooner than marine species although the tolerance of estuarine calcifiers to pH changes is poorly understood. We analyzed 23 years of Chesapeake Bay water quality monitoring data and found that daytime average pH significantly decreased across polyhaline waters although pH has not significantly changed across mesohaline waters. In some tributaries that once supported large oyster populations, pH is increasing. Current average conditions within some tributaries however correspond to values that we found in laboratory studies to reduce oyster biocalcification rates or resulted in net shell dissolution. Calcification rates of juvenile eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica, were measured in laboratory studies in a three-way factorial design with 3 pH levels, two salinities, and two temperatures. Biocalcification declined significantly with a reduction of ~0.5 pH units and higher temperature and salinity mitigated the decrease in biocalcification.
Estuaries & Coasts is the journal of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Begun in 1977 as Chesapeake Science, the journal has gradually expanded its scope and circulation. Today, the journal publishes manuscripts covering aspects of research on physical, chemical, geological or biological systems, as well as management of those systems, at the interface between the land and the sea. The interface is broadly defined to include areas within estuaries, lagoons, wetlands, tidal rivers, watersheds that include estuaries, and near-shore coastal waters. The journal publishes original research findings, reviews, techniques, and comments.
The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation is a private, nonprofit non partisan organization. The Federation was created in 1971, when the members of two older, regionally-based estuarine research societies (AERS and NEERS) decided that a national organization was needed to address estuarine and coastal issues more broadly. The regionally based Affiliate Societies now number seven and encompass all of the coastal regions that border the United States, Canada and Mexico.