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Warming Ocean Waters Are Killing All the Lobsters, Scientists Warn

Warming Ocean Waters Are Killing All the Lobsters, Scientists Warn

Warming ocean waters are not only making it difficult for oysters to develop the shells critical to their survival, but now the heat is also making it easier for diseases to spread that can get under lobsters’ shells and cause lesions, killing them.

The lobsters’ epizootic shell disease is found in warm waters, where bacteria can move quicker. In one recent study, researchers found that the disease bacteria responsible for the rapid deterioration of lobster shells, is first detected around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, at which it moves slowly. Between 60 and 68 degrees, the bacteria spreads at an even greater intensity, and can infect new lobster shells as soon as an old shell is molted.

The disease itself is not always fatal, but leaves affected lobsters more susceptible to invaders. In the most extreme cases, lobsters can die from the disease if the bacterial infection stresses the lobster, preventing it from molting. Even if a lobster survives, its discolored shell makes it unmarketable.

According to a 2015 study on epizootic shell disease in lobsters, the disease is most common in southern New England, the Long Island Sound, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. However, “since 2000, the prevalence of disease in these affected areas increased 20 to 38 percent annually. Marine biologists and lobster fishery personnel fear that the disease will eventually spread to more northern waters, including those along Cape Cod, Maine, and Nova Scotia, which are home to the largest and most economically important lobster breeding grounds.”

Previous studies on the effect of rising ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine — where scientists previously recorded the waters to be heating up 99 percent faster than the rest of the oceans — found that the temperatures are changing the types of species that show up in fishermen’s nets, as lobster, shrimp, cod, and herring, move up north, while species like blue crabs and squid show up in Maine.

“Shell disease has devastated the southern New England lobster fisher[ies], and now with warming, it’s created a situation where the Maine lobster industry may be at risk,” said Jeff Shields, a professor of marine science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. “Scientists are working with us to look out for increased lobster shell disease levels this spring.”


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.


Climate change could drive 1 In 6 species to extinction by 2100

Two-thirds of polar bears could vanish by 2050, thanks to melting sea ice. But the effects of a warming climate aren't limited to the Arctic Circle. About 1 in 6 species could go extinct by the end of the century, including some you might not expect.

Warming oceans spell trouble for lobsters. Climate scientists forecast the waters off the coast of Maine could be 5 degrees warmer by 2100, too warm for the local lobsters to survive.

Warm, acidic waters also threaten corals. These reef ecosystems help feed millions of people on land and help drive billion-dollar economies, and within 100 years, some experts warn they could be collapsing.

Rising sea levels could swamp a critical habitat for many of the world's remaining tigers. Within a century, the ocean could outpace tigers' ability to adapt.

Farther inland, long droughts are making life difficult for Bactrian camels. With fewer oases in the Gobi Desert, there's even less water and higher risk of attacks by predators. Some experts think the animals might only have 50 years left.

Certain subspecies of chimpanzee in Cameroon could lose almost all of their habitat by 2080 if climate change affects temperatures or rainfall too much.