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Study: Algae Making Some Parts Of Bay More Acidic

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A University of Maryland study found that increased algae growth causes higher acidity levels during its life cycle in the Chesapeake Bay, inhibiting the formation of young oyster shelves.
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A University of Maryland study found that increased algae growth causes higher acidity levels during its life cycle in the Chesapeake Bay, inhibiting the formation of young oyster shelves.

CAMBRIDGE, Md. (AP) A new study finds pollution-fed algae could be making some parts of the Chesapeake Bay more acidic, posing another threat to the bay's struggling oyster population.

Researchers say nitrogen and phosphorus that wash into the bay from lawns, sewage plants, farms, auto exhaust and other sources spurs the growth of algae, which consume carbon dioxide while growing. That lowers acidity where algae grow in the upper bay, but currents then carry algae toward the ocean. The algae is eaten along the way by other creatures that release the carbon dioxide, raising acidity.

Higher acidity can lower shell formation by young oysters. The study published in the journal Estuaries and Coasts was conducted at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Cambridge.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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