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Black-box data helps shellfish hatchery counter effect of OA


October 24, 2016
By Quentin Dodd

A black box system installed at Mook Sea Farm oyster hatchery in Maine is helping Bill Mook take proactive measures against ocean acidification (OA).

In addition to monitoring temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels in the water coming into the hatchery from the Damariscotta River, it monitors levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and then calculates the level of calcium carbonate.

 Dr Joe Salisbury, a professor of oceanography at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), designed, developed and installed the monitoring machine so Mook, hatchery employees and UNH staff could keep an eye on the different marine parameters generated every ten seconds. Hatchery staff are able to make adjustments to the water, countering the effects of OA and optimizing growing conditions.

 The box also helps Salisbury and other shellfish research scientists observe how runoff from the land and discharge water from civic sewage treatment plants affect the water.

 For now, the black box system is somewhat limited in its scope, monitoring a comparatively small area immediately around Mook Sea Farm’s hatchery operation. But Salisbury and others are working to expand the monitoring system along the Maine coast.

– Quentin Dodd


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