Island looks to take a lead in ‘acid oceans’ research

Bermuda could soon be at the centre of research into the acidification of the oceans, under plans being pursued by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

Dr. Andreas Andersson, in a joint effort with BIOS’ Nick Bates and Samantha de Putron, is currently applying for funding to develop an Ocean Acidification Research Centre at the Institute.

The phenomenon of increased acidification, referred to as ‘the other CO2 problem’, is the result of excess carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activity, most significantly through burning fossil fuels.

Around one third of this carbon dioxide is absorbed into the ocean, which causes it to acidify, impairing the ability of many marine organisms such as corals to calcify and produce their shells and skeletons.

This could disrupt the function and balance of marine ecosystems and have severe implications for humans, threatening food supplies and the fishing industry.

Dr. Anthony Knap, President and Director at BIOS, said: “The proposed Centre is a coordinated effort based on plenty of preliminary smaller steps that we have taken over the past 26 years.

The Royal Gazette, 24 February 2009. Full article.

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