Good question, what happens to the absorbed CO2 from plants grown in water die? Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.
The lack of historical data and the variability of acidity in the Salish Sea makes the task challenging, Christian said.
The Salish Sea saturation state in the surface water is low, meaning it is naturally acidic in the winter, with the summertime plankton bloom taking up carbon dioxide making it easier for shellfish to produce shells, Christian said.
“That may mean that the organisms that live there are well adapted to an environment that is naturally acidic or it may mean that it’s relatively close to a threshold that could be really bad for those organisms,” he said.
“What we do know is it’s a trend that is going on all over the world. In a place like this the natural variability is extremely large, but the long term trend goes in one direction,” Christian said.
The one certainty is that the only way to stabilize the oceans is a global effort to stop putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which means a halt to burning fossil fuels, scientists agree.
But there are other actions that will help and work done in Washington State has confirmed that freshwater runoff and sewage are major contributors to acidification in Puget Sound.
“Get a good septic system if you care about the shells on your shore,” Ianson recommended.
On a small scale, experiments such as restoring eelgrass and kelp beds in the Hood Canal are also underway, Manning said.
“The idea is that, as plants grow in the water they absorb CO2 so they can buffer and raise the pH as the plant is actually growing. The question is what happens when the plant dies — does it re-release all that CO2 as it decomposes?” he said.