Isabella O'Brien

Trouble in Paradise: Can shell recycling help buffer the effects of ocean acidification?

Isabella O'Brien, Canada Finalist, 13-15

This project examined whether recycling the millions of tons of carbonate based ‘shell waste’ produced each year from commercial and aquaculture catches and returning them to the ocean would help mitigate the effects of ocean acidification by stabilizing ocean pH. Results revealed increases in pH levels and decreases in shell degradation using this treatment over a 12-week period, illustrating that the calcium carbonate from the shell powder acted as an alkaline buffer. This application could be applied to marine protected areas to help mitigate local impacts of ocean acidification and help prevent the extinction of the most threatened marine organisms.