Feely and others found that oceanic currents on the West Coast that bring up water from the sea depths, combined with what he calls "anthropogenic CO2 from the surface," lowered the Ph levels of the hatchery water and made it too acerbic for the baby oysters to grow properly. What that meant to the oyster farmers was a 60 percent drop in production in 2008 and an 80 percent drop in 2009.
While there are some workarounds (expensive monitoring machinery, or moving the hatcheries to Hawaii), scientists say the problem is only going to get worse. Bill Dewey, an oyster farmer at Taylor Shellfish Farms, says that oyster farmers' futures will be learning how to adapt and hopefully reducing our carbon emissions and reducing the damage. Or else, "we're going to have a different ocean. And it probably won't have much shellfish in it."
Read More: How Climate Change is Changing the Oyster Business at NPR's The Salt
(Image: Emma Christensen)