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Rosette sample
As soon as the vessel reaches a sampling
station, the team drops a rosette sample
containing sampling bottles into the
DFO M. Starr

Oceanographers Michel Starr and Denis Gilbert co-authored a report on the results of studies on the acidification of the deep waters of the St. Lawrence Estuary that was published last June in the journal Atmosphere-Ocean. Their work was selected as one of the ten discoveries of the year by the magazine Québec Science.

The research showed that deep water in this part of the estuary was acidifying more quickly than the average for the planet’s oceans. On the pH scale – where values become increasingly acidic as they approach zero and increasingly basic as they approach 14 – deep water in the estuary has apparently lost from 0.2 to 0.3 units over the last 75 years, reaching a pH of between 7.7 and 7.8. In contrast, oceans have seen their pH levels fall by 0.1 unit on average, due to the growing concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere and, consequently, in the water.

A drop in the availability of calcium carbonates could explain why some molluscs are no longer able to form their calcium carbonate shells. Calcium carbonate dissolves in water that is too acidic. Acidification could have significant consequences for biodiversity and even for the productivity and commercial harvest of aquatic species impacted by these effects.

Two hypotheses were suggested to explain the accelerated acidification of the estuary seabed: first, an increase in the production of organic matter (for example, phytoplankton that sinks towards the seabed); and second, a warming of the water due to changes in oceanic circulation in the Northwest Atlantic.

This breakthrough in the understanding of the marine ecosystem of the St. Lawrence is the outcome of close collaboration within a team composed of researchers from University McGill, the Maurice Lamontagne Institute and the Institut des sciences de la mer.

For more information, please read the article L’estuaire tourne au vinaigre published in the magazine Québec Science.

Commercial fisheries –
Consultation calendar

Please take note that our calendar for commercial fisheries consultations is now available at our Web site.

However, we strongly suggest you contact the relevant managers to confirm meeting details. The managers’ names and contact information are listed in the calendar.

Consultation calendar – winter 2012

New business hours at the
Magdalen Islands office

Please take note that since January 3, 2012, business hours at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s office on the Magdalen Islands are as follows:

Monday to Friday
From 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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