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U/Ca Proxy Development in Pacific Oysters

Motivation and Project Description:

Oysters in the Pacific Northwest are economically and environmentally important organisms. Oyster health and survival are threatened by changing carbonate chemistry environments. Recently, saturation state has shown significant declines such that mass larval mortalities have been observed in oyster hatcheries. 

With periods of low saturation increasing in frequency, magnitude, and intensity in connection with rising pCO2, it becomes important to develop methodologies for measuring these changes even when instrumentation is unavailable or cost-prohibitive to implement. 

This research, therefore, seeks to calibrate U/Ca ratios in oyster shells as a geochemical tool to assess the individual exposure to carbonate chemistry of juvenile and young adult oysters.


This work was funded by Oregon Sea Grant (Grant ID: R/SAQ-21-Shiel).

Current Status:

The field portion of this research was conducted in Netarts Bay, OR between 2016 and 2018. Analytical analysis of these samples will follow in Fall 2020 once instrumentation and lab space allows following a fire in the laboratory in Fall 2018. 

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