October 04, 2019
Climate change could spell end for paua
New Zealand's most famous shellfish, the paua, is under threat with climate change.
Scientists at the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research and the University of Otago say increased seawater temperatures and ocean acidification resulting in lower pH levels will affect the thickness of paua shells, possibly making them less resistant to waves and predators.
By growing young paua in seawater with different combinations of temperatures and pH levels, they found while paua grew well in warmer water and lowered pH, the outer layer of their shell gets etched by seawater.
Professor Abby Smith from the University of Otago's Department of Marine Science says while all shellfish are at risk from marine climate change, paua are unusual because the shell is also a valuable part of the harvest, not just the flesh.
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