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Shells of the California mussel have become thinner over the past 2,000 years

June 17, 2016

Our new paper out this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society, B shows a thinning trend in the shells of the California mussel, very likely due to long-term ocean acidification along the US Pacific Coast.  Because this study uses archival specimens (some collected by past researchers on Tatoosh Island and others from archaeological middens made available by the Makah Tribe and Olympic National Park), we can't rule out alternative hypotheses, but the results include processes that affect a population over time in nature.


The large and common California mussel (Mytilus californianus) interacts strongly with other characteristic West Coast species and provides important habitat for other organisms by making thick and extensive mussel beds on rocky shores.


Check out this interview with lead author Cathy Pfister for the UChicago ScienceLife Blog.




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