Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Community News Network

April 8, 2013

Crabs supersized by carbon pollution

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

It was like watching lions tear apart lambs. The crabs scurried from their side of the tanks, banged on the shells of the traumatized oysters, pried them open with a claw in a way similar to what humans do with a knife at restaurants and gobbled them down.

For crab lovers, bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. Carbon-absorbing crabs put all their energy into upgrading shells, not flesh — like a mansion without much furniture. So diners might be disappointed years from now when they crack open huge crabs and find little meat.

The research showing the effects of carbon on marine organisms was published in the journal Geology in 2009. The study, led by Ries and co-authored with Anne Cohen and Daniel McCorkle, and found that crabs, lobsters and shrimp grew bigger more rapidly as carbon pollution increased. Chesapeake blue crabs grew nearly four times faster in high-carbon tanks than in low-carbon tanks.

But under the same conditions, oysters, scallops and other organisms struggle to grow, making them more vulnerable to carnivores. Oysters in high-carbon tanks grew at only one-quarter the speed they did in low-carbon conditions, according to the study.

"It's taking them longer to go from oyster spat to oyster adult," said Luke Dodd, a doctoral candidate at UNC who put the crabs in a tank with oysters. "When you're a baby, there's tons of predators that want to eat you up."

But when they put mud crabs and oysters together in the tanks polluted with carbon, Dodd, Michael Piehler of UNC and Jonathan Grabowski of Northeastern University observed something they didn't expect, a response that gave oysters a prayer.

Under conditions with lower levels of carbon, two mud crabs polished off 20 oysters in six hours. But in the aquariums with higher levels of carbon, the mud crabs seemed confused.

Text Only
Community News Network
Features
AP Video
Raw: MD Church Built in 1773 Ravaged by Fire Flight to Tel Aviv From US Diverted to Paris AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Raw: Massive Fire Burns in North Dakota Town Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

Yes
No
     View Results