Last spring Sara Grady, NSRWA Ecologist and South Shore Regional Coordinator for the MassBays Partnership, was appointed to the State Special Commission on Ocean Acidification, which had its second meeting at Salem State University last week. Ocean acidification is an impact of climate change, from carbon dioxide that has been released into the atmosphere being absorbed into ocean water. Increased carbon dioxide causes the water to become more acidic, which can have negative impacts to many species but especially those that use calcium carbonate to make shells, like clams and oysters. The effects of ocean acidification are amplified by increased nutrients entering coastal waters.

The panel is composed of legislators from along the coast, including Rep. Mathew Muratore (1st Plymouth) and Senator Patrick O’Connor (Plymouth and Norfolk), as well as representatives from state agencies, shellfishing and lobstering organizations, and scientists. Thus far the commission has discussed the causes and impacts of ocean acidification, ongoing and future monitoring in the state, and the action plans of other states including New Hampshire and Maine. The next meeting of the commission will be in April in Duxbury.