Published 24 October 2016
While many in the science community are concerned with reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to combat climate change, work is also underway in response to ocean acidification, a change in the pH of the ocean resulting from the ocean’s absorption of excess carbon from the atmosphere.
The governments of California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are collaborating to address issues affecting the ocean waters they share. They convened a group of scientists in 2013 that subsequently proposed ways to counteract the effects of the changing chemistry of ocean waters, including an effort to further curb land-based organic pollution that flows seaward.
The California Ocean Protection Council and the Ocean Science Trust have identified lower oxygen levels, known as hypoxia, and acidification as research and action priorities. The latter, evidenced by a minute lowering of the pH level of ocean waters, is a result of the absorption of excess carbon from the atmosphere.
Last April, the panel of 20 scientists appointed by the four states released their report. One proposal is the use of seagrass to pull carbon dioxide out of ocean waters. State Sen. Bill Monning’s Senate Bill 1363, which largely dealt with the restoration of eelgrass in state waters, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown at the end of September.
Continue reading ‘Dan Haifley, Our Ocean Backyard: Counteracting changes in ocean chemistry’
A poorly studied but potentially important consequence of the CO2-induced acidification of the surface ocean is a possible change in the bioavailability of trace metals, which play a critical role in the productivity and population dynamics of marine ecosystems. We report laboratory and field experiments designed to compare quantitatively the effects of acidification on the bioavailability of Zn, a metal essential to the growth of phytoplankton and on the extent of its complexation by model and natural ligands. We observed a good correspondence between the effects of pH on the rate of Zn uptake by a model diatom and the chemical lability of Zn measured by anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV). In model laboratory systems, the chemical lability and the bioavailability of Zn could either increase or decrease at low pH depending on the mix of complexing ligands. In a sample of coastal surface water, we observed similar increases in the ASV-labile and bioavailable Zn concentrations upon acidification, a result contrary to previous observations. These results, which can likely be generalized to other bioactive trace metals, mutatis mutandis, demonstrate the intricacy of the effects of ocean acidification on the chemistry and the ecology of surface seawater.
Continue reading ‘The effect of acidification on the bioavailability and electrochemical lability of zinc in seawater’
The Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a (Early Aptian) is thought to be causally related to the eruption of the Ontong–Java Plateau large igneous province. This study uses osmium isotope records to quantify the magnitude of the respective CO2 emissions up to the onset of Ocean Anoxic Event 1a, and model the associated changes in carbonate saturation state (omega), atmospheric pCO2, carbon isotope ratios and the carbonate compensation depth with a carbon cycle model. These model results suggest that volcanism associated with the rapid negative 187/188 osmium ratios observed during the onset of Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a (Selli Event) increased the planetary CO2 degassing flux at least six-fold, causing a negative δ13C excursion of ca 1.5‰ in the dissolved surface ocean inorganic carbon pool. This is consistent with previously published δ13C data. Volcanic degassing of this magnitude would also suppress the aragonite saturation state of surface water to near under saturated values (Omega ca 1.1 to 0.9), shoal the carbonate compensation depth by 1500 m, and increase the atmospheric pCO2 by 3000 ppm, before increased weathering and anoxia would counter the pCO2 increase.
Continue reading ‘Quantifying the volcanic emissions which triggered Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a and their effect on ocean acidification’
Published 21 October 2016
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) convened an expert meeting on the development of simplified methodology and ocean acidification research kits from 12-14 October 2016 at the IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco. The meeting was organized in the framework of the IAEA Technical Cooperation project “Supporting a Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network – towards Increased Involvement of Developing States” (INT7019).
The overall goal of the meeting was to advance discussions on the development of simplified methodology and ocean acidification starter “kits” (both observing and experimental), in particular for research institutes entering the ocean acidification field and with limited infrastructure and capacities.
Continue reading ‘IAEA INT7019 Task Force Meeting on the Development and Standardization of Methodology, 12-14 October, Monaco’
Published 21 October 2016
Meetings , Science
The first in-person meeting of the Biology Working Group of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) took place from 10-11 October 2016 at the IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco, hosted by the OA-ICC. The meeting brought together 14 participants from 9 countries and was led by the co-chairs of the Working Group, Mr Sam Dupont (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Ms Kirsten Isensee (IOC-UNESCO, Paris, France).
The group identified 3 tasks:
(i) To provide a biologist’s view on an ocean acidification observing network. In particular, the group discussed the spatial and temporal resolution that is relevant for marine organisms and that would be required to make projections of biological impacts. The group wrote the outline of a manuscript entitled “Ensuring biologically relevant carbonate chemistry measurements within a global ocean acidification observing network”, planned for submission in early 2017.
Continue reading ‘Meeting of the Biology Working Group of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), 10-11 October 2016, Monaco’
Published 21 October 2016
46 Scientists from the region gathered again in Phuket, Thailand, 29－31 August 2016, stepping up their efforts to develop a long term program monitoring the ecological impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems for the region.
The three-day WESTPAC event is a follow-up to previous two workshops in 2015, with the aim to review and test, through expert discussions and practical demonstrations either in field or laboratory, a set of consistent, comparable and cost-effective “Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)”, which could be used for monitoring the ecological impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems. While these efforts are focused on the establishment of a regional ocean acidification observing network, we are ideally striving for consistency and comparability as part of the Global Ocean Acidification – Observing Network (GOA-ON).
It is not news that the ocean is becoming more acidic due to its absorption of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since the industrial revolution. Many studies have shown the harmful effects of acidification on ocean-based food security as the lower pH levels make it more difficult for marine calcifying organisms, such as corals, molluscs and calcareous plankton, to form biogenic calcium carbonate (build shells and skeletons).
Continue reading ‘WESTPAC scientists step up efforts to combat ocean acidification’
Published 20 October 2016
Can you believe it has been 10 years since the Ocean Acidification news stream featured its first post? On 5 July 2006, the news stream embarked on its mission to provide regular updates on ocean acidification-related activities – scientific papers, media coverage, jobs, meetings and other events etc., and it has turned into an essential and highly valued tool for the ocean acidification community worldwide.
The news stream matured under the umbrella of the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA), designed to continue for four years (2008-2012) and with the overall goal to advance our understanding of the biological, ecological, biogeochemical, and societal implications of ocean acidification. The EPOCA consortium brought together more than 160 researchers from 32 institutes and 10 European countries.
But the end of EPOCA did not bring the Ocean Acidification news stream to its closure. In July 2012, this first-of-its-kind online ocean acidification resource was “adopted” by the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It has been carefully nurtured since by the OA-ICC project team.
Continue reading ‘The ocean acidification news stream celebrates its 10th birthday!’