Crab Shells Soak Up CO2 And Are Growing. Sadly, The Meat, Not So Much

This crab does not exist and most likely will never exist, it’s entirely plausible that there does exist such a crab on some far away planet doing battle as we speak. Think about it.

Apparently gargantuan crabs come along with the territory so far as  increased CO2 emissions are concerned.  Take a long look at that crab in the picture to the right.  That crab does not exist, and probably isn’t going to due to the increase in CO2.  So do not panic.  That image is there purely for your entertainment and of course to terrify you into doing everything within your power to combat man induced climate change.  Recycle!

But You Said Gargantuan, How Big Will The Crabs Get?

The reason I doubt the crabs will grow to the size of these behemoths fighting off the nasty humans is because it is the shell that absorbs the Co2, but the meat remains the same.  It seems to me there will be a point where the shell becomes so cumbersome to the still-the-same-size crab inside the shell, that the creature will become immobile and virtually imprisoned within its own armor.

“Higher levels of carbon in the ocean are causing oysters to grow slower, and their predators – such as blue crabs – to grow faster,” Justin Baker Ries, a marine scientist from the Aquarium Research Center of the University of North Carolina, said.

According to a Science World report, increased levels of CO2 in the oceans automatically spell doom for oysters and corals because more acidic waters make these creatures to form shells more slowly, thus making them vulnerable to predators like crabs and lobsters.

Suffice to say, the abnormal predator-prey relationship currently ongoing between the two could lead to a multimillion problem to the global oyster industry.

Crab-meat lovers are also warned that the supersizing goes only shell-deep. The apparent supersizing does not translate to more crab-meat.

“They still have the same weight in meat as the smaller crabs. They’re gaining all the size in their inedible shells,” Mr Ries said. [ ]

Feeling pretty good about the raccoons raiding your garbage bin right about now?

Unfortunately this seems like overall bad news.  The oceans will get more acidic, and what doesn’t die because of this just becomes disturbingly large and more cumbersome to go about catching and breaking through the shell.  All those extra calories burned in the effort will be wasted too, since the meat quantity isn’t changing.  You could say this might help fight the obesity epidemic throughout the world, but I don’t think people gorging themselves on crab is the focal point of the issue; it’s probably more to do with processed food and an ever increasing addiction to watching Game of Thrones.

How Big Are These CO2 Mutant Crabs For Real?

I found the picture of the disturbing crab to the left associated with a couple of news articles to do with this story, but I am unconvinced that this particular crab is actually indicative of the current state of affairs so far as CO2 enhanced crabs go.

A bushel of male blue crabs in Morgantown, Md. In the Chesapeake Bay region,… (Alyssa A. Botelho/The Washingtonpost)

To get a better idea of the crab in question I will supply another image associated with the next news source – which is far less visually stunning than the last two examples – and is probably the more conservative approach. If you’re disappointed, give it time.

Crabs put away carbon like nobody’s business. The more they eat, the faster they molt, a growth spurt during which their shells go soft. Carbon helps speed the process so that they emerge bigger and perhaps stronger, less vulnerable to predators and more formidable predators themselves. [ ]

Is There A Silver Lining In All of This?

I wonder if we can somehow use technology to harness the CO2 soaking up capacity of crab shells to cleanse the environment.  Perhaps we could then eat the small crabs inside, crush up the shells and recycle them back into the Earth for fertilizer.  I think they’d make good fertilizer.  Why not?  At least it would be storing the CO2 back into the soil along with some other nutrients instead of letting it build up in the atmosphere.

I don’t know, I’m just trying to think positively in the face of our inevitable demise at the claws of the unfathomably gigantic crab monsters that will one day come to overthrow the human race.

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