UCI-led study tracks the decline of important coastal shellfish.
Once plentiful in the Gulf of Maine, the blue mussel of New England is quickly disappearing. According to researchers with the University of California, Irvine, the blue mussel population has declined by 60 percent over the last 40 years.
Ecologists suspect warming temperatures in the gulf — which stretches from Cape Cod to Canada — are to blame for the mussel’s disappearing act.
“The Earth is in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, and the Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest-warming areas of the global ocean, so the impacts of ocean warming are likely to happen much sooner there,” Cascade Sorte, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCI, said in a news release.