Cultivating Shellfish for Their Shells : A Part from the Book Chapter : Sequestration of Atmospheric Carbon through Ocean Calcifiers: An Approach towards Climate Change

Our conclusion remains positive. The most recent Life Cycle Assessments (LCA; described and referenced below) demonstrate that the shellfish cultivation industry offers unique opportunities for permanently sequestering carbon while producing food, but if significant carbon capture is to be achieved, the paradigm (and the business model of shellfish farms around the world) must be changed from cultivating shellfish for food towards cultivating shellfish for their shells. If the level of finance and global effort that are willingly anticipated for forest management and CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) flue gas treatments were applied to expansion of shellfish (and other calcifiers) cultivation around the world, significant amounts of CO2 could be removed from the atmosphere with much greater permanence and less cost than any other solution can offer. Start now and by the end of this century the action plan could be contributing to returning the CO2 level in our atmosphere to its natural, pre-industrial level.

Author(s) Details:

David Moore
Department of Biology, Medicine and Health, School of Biological Sciences, The University of
Manchester, UK.

Matthias Heilweck
Independent Researcher, F-68240, Kaysersberg, France.

William Burton Fears
Department of Medicine, Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas and Founding Fellow of the
American College of Endocrinology, USA.

Peter Petros
Kaapa Biotech Oy, Teilinummentie 4, 09120 Karjalohja, Finland.

Samuel J Squires
Department of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester, UK.

Elena Tamburini
Department of Environmental and Prevention Sciences, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

Robert Paul Waldron
Independent Researcher, LA-70448, Mandeville, Louisiana, USA.

 Also See : The Main Goal of this Review : A Part from the Book Chapter : Microplastic Exposure to Infants

Recent Global Research Developments in How ocean acidification can benefit calcifiers

Is Ocean Acidification Really a Threat to Marine Calcifiers?

  • A systematic review and meta-analysis1 challenge the prevailing notion that ocean acidification (OA) is universally detrimental to calcifiers.
  • Key findings:
  • Tolerance: Many calcifiers (such as echinoderms, crustaceans, and cephalopods) appear to be tolerant to near-future OA (pH ≈ 7.8 by 2100).
  • Sensitivity: Coccolithophores, calcifying algae, and corals are more sensitive.
  • Acclimation: Calcifiers exhibit acclimation capacity through phenotypic plasticity, transgenerational plasticity, and other mechanisms.
  • The adaptability of calcifiers to OA has been underestimated.
  • Future research should consider how marine organisms persist alongside studying their vulnerabilities.
  • Ocean Acidification Basics:
  • Since the industrial revolution, about 30% of anthropogenic CO₂ has been absorbed by the global oceans.
  • Average surface seawater pH levels have already decreased by 0.1, projected to decline by ~0.3 by 2100.
  • OA shallows the saturation horizon, where calcium carbonate (CaCO₃) dissolves, affecting marine calcifiers.
  • Calcifiers and Their Shells:
  • Calcifiers, including various organisms, rely on dissolved carbonate ions (CO₃²⁻) to build and maintain their shells and skeletons.
  • As OA reduces available carbonate ions, shells and skeletons become more vulnerable.


  1. Leung, J. Y., Zhang, S., & Connell, S. D. (2022). Is ocean acidification really a threat to marine calcifiers? A systematic review and meta‐analysis of 980+ studies spanning two decades. Small, 18(35), 2107407.

Leave a Reply