An Oct. 7 story by Seth Koenig in the Bangor Daily News described the work of Elizabeth Thompson, a researcher for Friends of Casco Bay.

Thompson and others have been measuring the impact of increasingly acidic waters on coastal organisms and finding not just a reduction in organisms in areas where acid levels in nearby waters is higher, but the complete disappearance of some species.

Calling this “another threat to Maine’s shellfish industry, estimated to be worth about $60 million annually,” Koenig’s article draws attention to what are referred to as “dead muds” — darker muds and sulfur-rich areas that have lower pH levels and don’t have any clams.

Denis-Marc Nault, a biologist with the Department of Marine Resources, told the BDN that reduced staffing levels mean the state hasn’t been able to map these acidic areas or complete the depth of study necessary to determine if acidity is the cause of what appears to be an eradication of clams in places where they have traditionally been harvested.

“Nault said changes in salinity can be deadly for young shellfish as well, and said he and the one other department biologist assigned to monitor Maine’s flats are stretched too thin to do the comprehensive research necessary to determine how pervasive the dead muds are,” Koenig wrote.

Ocean acidification is often linked to climate change, because it results from the increase in carbon dioxide that is making its way into seawater. That CO2 falls from skies that have become polluted, many say with industrial waste. The added carbon dioxide increases the concentration of hydrogen ions in the water, which raises its acidity.

Secret life of lobster

PORTLAND — The Gulf of Maine Research Institute will host a Sea State Lecture by Win Watson, biological sciences professor at the University of New Hampshire, on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

Watson has been studying the animal physiology and animal behavior of lobsters and other marine animals in the Gulf of Maine.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the GMRI offices at 350 Commercial St. in Portland. For reservations and more information, contact Patty Collins at lectures@gmri.org or call 228-1625.

Sea State Lectures are free and parking is provided in GMRI’s adjacent lot.

Shipwrecks subject of Propeller Club meeting

The Propeller Club of the United States, Searsport/Bucksport Chapter, will hold its monthly meeting Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. The venue will be the Belfast Shriners’ Club, located on Northport Avenue. The guest speaker will be local historian Jon Johansen, publisher of Maine Coast News, who will give a presentation on significant shipwrecks of the Maine and New England coast. Members of the public are welcome to attend; the cost of diner is $25.  Reservations must be made by calling 548-1077.

Turning saltwater seas into acid oceans

BLUE HILL — On Thursday, Oct. 20, Mark Green will be the featured speaker in the Marine Environmental Research Institute Ocean Environment Lecture Series. He will speak on Ocean Acidification: Survival of Marine Ecosystems and Seafood.

Green’s lecture at the MERI Center in Blue Hill begins at 7 p.m., preceded by a reception at 6 p.m. All lectures in the series are free and open to the public.

Green is an oceanographer and self-described oyster grower. He also is a pioneer in ocean acidification research, garnering international attention and three major grants from the National Science Foundation. With his most recent grant, Green is focusing research on the impact of acidification on microscopic larval clams in several Maine estuaries.

The Marine Environmental Research Institute is located at 55 Main St. in Blue Hill. For more information, call 374-2135, send an email to info@meriresearch.org, or visit the website at meriresearch.org.

Wanderbird’s northern expedition at Sail, Power and Steam Museum

ROCKLAND — Friday evening, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., the Sail, Power and Steam Museum will present a talk by Captains Rick and Karen Miles about their ship Wanderbird and their cruises to Greenland, Labrador and Newfoundland. Wanderbird is a North Sea fishing trawler converted into a long-range expedition trawler.

The northern expedition began in Makkovik, with a welcome or “Atelihai” feast prepared by local residents. Makkovik is part of Nunatsiavut, the home of the Labrador Inuit. Further ports of call include Hopedale, Nain, Hebron, Okak or Nutak. The final destination was the historic settlement of Aasiaat in Disco Bay in Greenland, sometimes known as “the town of whales” because marine mammals are so plentiful there.

The talk is free; donations are appreciated. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Sharp’s Point South and the Sail, Power and Steam Museum are at 75 Mechanic St. in Rockland. For more information museum and its programs call 596-0200, write to ssmuseum@midcoast.com or visit the website at sailpowerandsteammuseum.org.

Members added to lobster promotion board

AUGUSTA — The Maine Lobster Promotion Council announced new representatives to its board of directors.

The Lobster Advisory Council, after receiving input from the industry, nominated four candidates for positions on the MLPC board who were subsequently appointed by Acting Marine Resources Commissioner Pat Keliher.

The new board members are:

  • Peter Miller, harvester member for the Midcoast Region
  • Jim Dow, harvester member for the Eastern Region
  • John Petersdorf, dealer member for the Midcoast Region
  • Patrice McCarron, public member for the Western Region

Rockland publisher launches national social network

ROCKLAND — Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Inc. announced the national launch of USHarbors.com, a free website that delivers tide charts, weather data and forecasts, photography, and a steady stream of local stories and information through a social network of more than 1,100 harbors across 20 coastal states from Eastport to Washington state.

For each harbor and state, the innovative usharbors.com network delivers onshore and marine weather forecasts; weather radar and buoy data; reliable, printable tide charts; a coastal directory; and an ongoing stream of local stories, videos, photo galleries, and other information relevant to anyone with an interest in the coast.

Users can customize usharbors.com to deliver weather and tide data for their favorite harbor.

For more information, visit the website at usharbors.com or contact Executive Editor Joshua Moore at 593-0011 or info@usharbors.com.

Ocean Classroom launches fall semester sails

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — The Ocean Classroom Foundation said “Bon Voyage” to two separate groups of students recently, aboard the historic Harvey Gamage and Spirit of Massachusetts schooners. Students from the Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., boarded the Harvey Gamage Sept. 20 to begin a 9-week exploration of the Western North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. This marks the 15th year that OCF has sailed with students from Proctor Academy.

On Sept. 28, the Spirit of Massachusetts set sail for its fall SEAmester voyage, in which college students will spend an entire semester at sea, earning credits in marine science, navigational science, and the humanities from the University of Maine.

The Ocean Classroom Foundation is a non-profit, experiential education organization using the power of the sea and the challenges of seafaring to help students attain academic excellence and personal growth, and to encourage good stewardship of the ocean world.

For more information, visit the website at oceanclassroom.org.

According to the website wordorigins.org, “Scuttlebutt is an early 19th century nautical term for an open cask of water kept on deck for use by the crew. The term comes from scuttle — to cut a hole in — and butt — a large cask. Sailors would gather about the cask and trade stories and gossip, much like modern office workers do at the water cooler or coffee pot. By the turn of the 20th century, American sailors began using the term scuttlebutt to refer to these sea stories and gossip. Eventually the term became associated with any gossip or rumor.”

Send scuttlebutt to Herald Gazette reporter Shlomit Auciello at sauciello@villagesoup.com or call 207-236-8511.