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Climate Change & Toxic Shellfish

July 15, 2015

Climate change is threatening India’s seafood industry.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

MusselFarmlUCY tURNER Laboratory tanks for testing mussels under different temperature and salinity conditions

Laboratory tanks for testing mussels under different temperature and salinity conditions. (Lucy Turner)

Climate change is straining mussels. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Rising temperatures and increasingly intense storms resulting from climate change make coastal waters warmer and less salty. At the annual meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology, University of Gothenburg researcher Lucy Turner reported that these conditions allow toxic plankton and bacteria to flourish.

LUCY TURNER (University of Gothenburg):

In the long term, this could cause big problems for the mussel industry.

Working in India, Turner grew mussels under these conditions and found that the shellfish were unable to defend themselves against the bacteria, becoming both sick themselves and unsafe for human consumption.

TURNER:

People are going to have to very vigilant about how they safely produce seafood in those kind of conditions.

HIRSHON:

Now she and other researchers are seeing how the conditions could affect oysters, clams and other shellfish. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.