Title: Assessing the susceptibility of Atlantic sea scallops and surf clams to ocean acidification using glider-based coastal modeling and larval transport models

Funding agency:  NJ Sea Grant

Project Lead: Grace Saba

Partners:  NOAA NEFSC, Atlantic Capes Fisheries, Inc.

Period of Performance: 08/01/18-07/31/21

Total Budget:  $94,000

Project summary:

Coastal acidification has significant societal ramifications ranging from economic losses due to decreased survival of commercially important organisms to ecological consequences associated with changing ecosystems. With projected changes in carbonate chemistry due to acidification, the survival of calcifying organisms is at risk. There is a critical need to deploy new, cost-effective technologies that can routinely provide high resolution, regional data in our coastal ocean to inform how important species populations respond to acidification. Using an underwater autonomous glider equipped with a deep ISFET pH and CTD sensor, maps of seasonal and temporal variability in pH and aragonite saturation in the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) will be produced. The results will be interpreted in concert with stock assessments and larval dispersal models for two economically important species, the Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) and Atlantic surf clam (Spisula solidissima). Larval shellfish are especially vulnerable to acidification and larval dispersal plays a key role in determining the success of populations over time. Times and locations where these species may be at high risk of acidification impacts in the MAB will be identified, and recommendations will be provided to encourage environmentally-based management practices and assist in the implementation of regional fishery sustainability initiatives.