(Photo courtesy Shutterstock)

(Photo courtesy Shutterstock)

Climate change negatively affecting San Francisco Bay’s oyster population

A new report released by UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Laboratory and the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve provides evidence that oysters are dying off in the San Francisco Bay. Climate change and the creation of atmospheric rivers appears to be at fault.

The LA Times first covered the study’s results, the highlight of which was a massive oyster die-out in 2011. An extremely wet winter meant more snow and subsequent snow melt, which trickled down to San Francisco’s Bay. At its peak, 220,000 cubic feet of water rushed into the bay per second.

The resulting diluting of the Bay’s saltwater levels had disastrous results on oyster populations, as studied by scientist near China Camp State Park. Prior to the wet winter, the Bodega Marine Lab reported 180 oysters per square foot in that region. By July 2011, almost all of them were dead.

The reason: oysters close up their shells when the water around them doesn’t meet their salty specifications. But they can’t stay closed forever and stay healthy—after eight days they either suffocate or build up too much waste, and perish.

The good news is that China Camp’s oyster population appeared to have recovered in 2013, though they hadn’t reached pre-2011 sizes. But with climate change not decreasing, it may only be a matter of time before a wet winter wreaks havoc on the Bay again.climate changeoystersSan Francisco Baysciencescientific study

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Officer Nicholas M. Buckley in November 2014 (DPA records)
Federal judge: SF police officer’s testimony was ‘pure fiction’

A federal judge who strongly condemned the false testimony of a San… Continue reading

Advocates rally for SRO rent relief in San Francisco’s Civic Center on Wednesday, May 18, 2021 (Kevin Hume/S.F. Examiner).
Rent relief coming for SRO residents—three hunger strikes later

The years-long fight to lower rents for burdened supportive housing tenants is… Continue reading

A person holds a sign at a vigil for Roger Allen, who was killed by Daly City Police on April 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Daly City asks state to probe fatal police shooting

Daly City officials have asked California Attorney General Rob Bonta to launch… Continue reading

Indoor dining at John’s Grill. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
State’s mask mandate to continue until June 15 reopening despite CDC guidance

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation California will wait until next… Continue reading

S.F. Police Department Mobile Command Centers in UN Plaza have been set up to combat crime and quality-of-life issues. <ins>(Michael Toren/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
More cops and counselors coming to troubled Mid-Market

San Francisco will add more police officers to the Mid-Market area starting… Continue reading

Most Read