Increasingly acidic sea conditions have been shown to weaken the shells of pearl oysters—but it appears these mollusks are pretty resilient creatures.
AsianScientist (Jan. 29, 2016) – Pearls have adorned the necklines of women throughout history, but some evidence suggests that the gems’ future could be uncertain. Increasingly acidic seawater causes oyster shells to weaken, which doesn’t bode well for the pearls forming within.
However, as scientists report in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the mollusks might be more resilient to changing conditions than previously thought.
Pearl aquaculture is a thriving business, particularly in Asia and Australia. In Western Australia alone, the total allowable annual catch of oysters per licensed pearl production company is 572,000 oysters, or approximately US$200 million dollars’ worth of pearls.
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