Mussel Up: Climate Change Threatens Seafood

August 16, 2010

Summer 2010 has been one for the record books, with record-setting temperatures, a brutal heat wave in Russia and deadly flooding in Pakistan. Not only is climate change wreaking havoc on the weather, according to a University of South Carolina study, it could affect dinner plates soon as well. Researchers at the university concluded that higher air and water temperatures along the East Coast are shrinking the range of blue mussels. In the past, mussels lived as far south as Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; now, the southernmost area that mussels can be found is Lewes, Delaware. Sierra Jones, a Ph.D. student at the University of South Carolina, explains the concern of the findings, saying, “These mussels are a very important part of the food chain, help clean the water, and are farmed commercially. If temperatures continue to increase, we can expect range changes of species like blue mussels to continue, and the health of our oceans is at risk.” Food shortage due to decreased food production and availability are among the consequences of climate change. For more information about the S.C. study, check out this article by E2 Wire’s Ben Geman.