The term “lazy larvae syndrome” has been coined by hatcheries in the northwest. Researchers at Oregon State University and the US National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences have been paying particularly close attention to developing mussels in the northwest given the dynamic changes in the water supply.
In order to survive, mussels must be able to produce their hard shell. This is becoming more difficult for the little bivalves because their energy is being zapped by pH changes in their home as a consequence of climate change. The sea water is becoming more corrosive, more acidic and has higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). This “eats up” the calcium carbonate that the mussels produce for their shells. This in turn, zaps energy required to eat and swim (hence, the name lazy larvae) making them very susceptible to changes in sea water pH.