Archive for July, 2007

Global Warming Threatens Hawaii’s Coral Reefs

COCONUT ISLAND (KHNL) – The combined stress of global warming and ocean acidification has many coral reef biologists very concerned.
Continue reading ‘Global Warming Threatens Hawaii’s Coral Reefs’

The long-term legacy of fossil fuels

Tyrrell T., Shepherd J. G. & Castle S., 2007. The long-term legacy of fossil fuels. Tellus 59(4):664–672

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Corals in deep-water: will the unseen hand of ocean acidification destroy cold-water ecosystems?

Turley C.M., Roberts J.M. & Guinotte J.M., in press. Corals in deep-water: will the unseen hand of ocean acidification destroy cold-water ecosystems? Coral Reefs.
Continue reading ‘Corals in deep-water: will the unseen hand of ocean acidification destroy cold-water ecosystems?’

A review of the ecological and taphonomic controls on foraminiferal assemblage development in intertidal environments

A. Berkeley, C.T. Perry, S.G. Smithers, B.P. Horton and K.G. Taylor, 2007. A review of the ecological and taphonomic controls on foraminiferal assemblage development in intertidal environments. Earth-Science Reviews 83(3-4):205-230.
Continue reading ‘A review of the ecological and taphonomic controls on foraminiferal assemblage development in intertidal environments’

Temporal variations in the carbonate system in the upper layer at the SEATS station

Tseng et al., in press. Temporal variations in the carbonate system in the upper layer at the SEATS station. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography.
Continue reading ‘Temporal variations in the carbonate system in the upper layer at the SEATS station’

The Ocean Acidification Network

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the ocean has absorbed approximately 48% of the anthropogenic CO2 released to the atmosphere, significantly reducing its impact on climate. At current “emissions-avoidance” costs of $10-35 US dollars per ton of CO2 emissions avoided, this represents an ecosystem service worth trillions of dollars. However, this valuable service comes at a steep ecological cost – the acidification of the ocean. As CO2 dissolves in seawater, the pH of the water decreases, making it more acidic. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, ocean pH has dropped globally by 0.12 pH units. While these pH levels are not alarming in themselves, the rate of change is cause for concern. To the best of our knowledge, the ocean has never experienced such a rapid acidification. By the end of this century, if concentrations of CO2 continue to rise exponentially, we may expect to see changes in pH that are three times greater and 100 times faster than those experienced during the transitions from glacial to interglacial periods. Such large changes in ocean pH have probably not been experienced on the planet for the past 21 million years. How marine ecosystems, coral reefs, and fisheries will respond to this rapid acidification is unknown.
Continue reading ‘The Ocean Acidification Network’

Calcification (Other Marine Organisms)- Summary

For some time now, the ongoing rise in the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration has been claimed to be raising havoc – or just about to be doing so – with earth’s calcifying marine organisms by lowering the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater, which phenomenon has been predicted to greatly hamper the abilities of these creatures to produce their calcium carbonate skeletons (Orr et al., 2005). In the companion category of Calcification (Corals) in our Subject Index, we discuss this subject as it applies to earth’s many species of coral. Here, we describe the results of studies of other calcifying marine organisms that have explored this same phenomenon…, 18 July 2007. Link.

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Bitter Prospects for Shellfish

Increased ocean acidity will make it more difficult for shellfish like mussels and oysters to harden their shells, says a study (1) by French CNRS researcher Jean-Pierre Gattuso (2) and his colleagues from the Netherlands. And this environmental problem will have to be addressed. If the ocean is turning “bitter,” it is due to its property of absorbing some of the greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, during the past two centuries of industrialization, it has soaked up half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by human activity. “This is a boon for mankind but not for the ocean creatures,” says Gattuso. The acidity, or pH, measures the concentration of H+ ions in the water, with low pH meaning high H+ concentration. When CO2 combines with water H2O, it forms carbonic acid H2CO3. This acid releases H+ ions into the water, causing the pH to drop. And some marine organisms are not reacting well at all. It makes the process of shell calcification more difficult for those that need calcium carbonate to build their “body” structure, such as the skeleton of corals or the shell of mollusks.

Continue reading ‘Bitter Prospects for Shellfish’

Session “Ocean Acidification: Causes and Impacts on Biogeochemical Processes, Biota and Climate”

A session on “Ocean Acidification: Causes and Impacts on Biogeochemical Processes, Biota and Climate” will take place during the Ocean Sciences Meeting, 2-7 March 2008, Orlando, Florida.

Continue reading ‘Session “Ocean Acidification: Causes and Impacts on Biogeochemical Processes, Biota and Climate”’

Ocean acidification session ‘Geologische Vereinigung’ meeting, Bremen (Germany)

We would like to draw your attention to an upcoming scientific session on Ocean Acidification, part of this year’s annual ‘Geologische Vereinigung’ meeting, to be held in Bremen, Germany. The meeting runs from October 1 to 5 with sessions being held from October 3 to 5. The programme is posted in the second circular. The session is entitled: “Ocean acidification: back to the future”:

Due to the uptake of anthropogenic CO2, world oceans are getting less alkaline („ocean acidification“) with yet unpredictable consequences for the oceanic ecosystem. The global surface ocean pH has already dropped by 0.1 units since the beginning of the industralisation. In the history of our planet, this is not the first time that oceans experience acidification. Eventhough the causes for these events maybe of a different nature (bolide impact at the K/T boundary, methane clathrate release at the PETM and ELMO) and although the rate of change may be different, much may be learned from this. This session aims to provide a biogeoscientific view of past events and future consequences: Can we learn from the geological archives how the present day ecosystem could be affected? Can we learn from the present day ecosystem response to better interprete the archives?

We encourage colleagues from different fields, including geochemistry, marine geology, geobiology, (paleo)climatology, ……, to participate and help make this the interdisciplinary session we hope it will be. We encourage you to submit an abstract for this session. Abstracts deadline is June 15 (for details see web page).

Oral presentations and posters

Oral presentations: There will be several parallel sessions. Each presentation will be allocated 15 minutes (including time for discussion).

Poster presentations: Poster sessions will be scheduled in between parallel sessions. Posters should be closely related to the topics of the scientific sessions and should not exceed 120 cm (height) by 94 cm (width).

Please indicate your preference for your presentation (oral talk or poster) on the registration form; the final decision however, will be made by the organising committee based on advice from the convenors.

Abstract submission

Abstracts with a maximum of 450 words must be submitted by June 15, 2007. Please send digital abstracts as Word documents (*.doc) or in Rich Text Format (*.rtf ), attached to an email to or on CD-Rom to the conference address. Please, do not submit your abstract on paper and do not include figures. For additional submission instructions see the GV-2007 website. All abstracts will be published in Terra Nostra (ISSN coded). Your abstract will be processed on receipt of payment.

Outstanding student poster award

All first-author students presenting a poster are eligible to compete for this award. The successful student will be awarded financial support (up to € 1000) to attend a scientific meeting of his/her choice.


Please find the registration form on the GV-2007 conference website and return the filled form online ( or as an email attachment to

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We are looking forward to meeting you in Bremen.

Ulf Riebesell and Jelle Bijma

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book