Archive for March, 2009



Junior researcher marine biogeology (f/m)

The department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam

Vacancy number 1.2009.00076

The department of Earth Sciences is looking for a marine bio-geologist to be appointed at the level of Junior Researcher. The researcher will be part of the FP7 program EPOCA
www.epoca-project.eu and contribute to the question how far ocean acidification has led already to a weight reduction in planktonic foraminifera (calcifying marine organisms). Samples from plankton tows, sediment traps and the sea-floor will be studied for their mass and stable isotope composition.
Continue reading ‘Junior researcher marine biogeology (f/m)’

La déclaration de Monaco accuse le CO2 (In French)

«L’augmentation du CO2 atmosphérique menace les océans», alertent les scientifiques dans la déclaration de Monaco, un appel international lancé le 30 janvier, à Nice, lors du congrès des sciences aquatiques. «Depuis le début de l’ère industrielle, l’acidité de l’océan a augmenté de 30% avec pour effet une diminution des carbonates dans l’eau, indispensables à la calcification des coraux et des coquilles des mollusques. Des perturbations sur ces organismes pourraient avoir des conséquences importantes sur l’ensemble des écosystèmes marins et donc des populations humaines qui en dépendent», expliquait Jean-Pierre Gattuso, du CNRS de Villefranche-sur-Mer, co-organisateur du congrès.
Continue reading ‘La déclaration de Monaco accuse le CO2 (In French)’

PNCIMA Forum on Pacific Ocean to address uncertain future

On March 26, a two-day conference will get underway in Richmond with the goal of mapping a future for much of British Columbia’s coastal waters.

Called the PNCIMA Forum (for Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area), the event will see 300 relevant stakeholders meet to begin to figure out how to manage B.C.’s waters in a time of both increasing human activity and environmental challenges.

Kurt Grimm, associate professor of earth and ocean sciences at UBC, warned that oceans’ surface waters are becoming more acidic, to a point where marine life could be in danger.

Simply put, he explained, oceans naturally act as a sponge for atmospheric CO2. But industrialized humanity is now spewing CO2 into the atmosphere at such an “unprecedented” rate that the oceans are sponging up the greenhouse gas faster than waters’ chemistry can reach equilibrium. The result is a “large perturbation” characterized by surface waters becoming more acidic.

“And when you have a large perturbation in an ecosystem, the ultimate outcomes are very difficult, if not impossible to forecast,” Grimm added. “It’s like rolling the dice.”
Continue reading ‘PNCIMA Forum on Pacific Ocean to address uncertain future’

Warning on the “other CO2 problem”: ocean acidification

The world’s marine ecosystems risk being severely damaged by ocean acidification unless there are dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions, warn scientists. More than 150 top marine researchers have voiced their concerns through the “Monaco Declaration”, which warns that changes in acidity are accelerating.

The declaration, supported by Prince Albert II of Monaco, builds on findings from an earlier international summit.

It says pH levels are changing 100 times faster than natural variability.

Based on the research priorities identified at The Ocean in a High CO2 World symposium, held in October 2008, the declaration states:

“We scientists who met in Monaco to review what is known about ocean acidification declare that we are deeply concerned by recent, rapid changes in ocean chemistry and their potential, within decades, to severely affect marine organisms, food webs, biodiversity and fisheries.“
Continue reading ‘Warning on the “other CO2 problem”: ocean acidification’

Loading the seas with carbon dioxide set to create ocean based ecological disaster

Like a sinkful of hard water deposits suddenly doused with vinegar, the shells of tiny marine snails in Victoria Fabry’s test tanks don’t stand a chance.

Fabry, a biological oceanographer and visiting researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, studies the effects of ocean acidification on the molluscs known as pteropods. In one experiment, only 48 hours of exposure to slightly corrosive seawater caused normally smooth shells to become frayed at the edges on their way to eventual dissolution, severely diminishing their owners’ chances of survival.

The acidity of the water in Fabry’s lab had been ratcheted up to levels that might not be seen until the end of the century, but she and other scientists fear that ongoing acidification of ocean water could be causing a slow-motion destruction of ocean ecosystems now.
Continue reading ‘Loading the seas with carbon dioxide set to create ocean based ecological disaster’

Student film highlights plight of the oceans

A group of students from Ridgeway School in Plymouth have made their concerns about the state of the world’s oceans clear through a hard hitting film. ‘The Other CO2 Problem’ is a seven and a half minute animation starring characters from King Poseidon’s Kingdom beneath the sea and laments the fact that Doctorpus, Britney Star, Michelle Mussel, Derek the Diatom and other subsea creatures are suffering as the ocean becomes more acidic as a result of human activities; the film ends with Poseidon demanding that we terrestrials sort the problem out and stop pumping more and more CO2 into the atmosphere to be absorbed by the sea, with potentially disastrous consequences.

The film has been previewed at two prestigious scientific meetings, first in Copenhagen where it was seen by more than a hundred international scientists and policy makers attending the International Congress on Climate Change earlier this month.

Dr John Baxter a scientist working with Scottish Natural Heritage was there and was clearly impressed: “This was a clear, creative and inspiring message from the younger generation to the politicians who will shortly negotiate the future of our planet, the future planet that this younger generation will inherit from us.”
Continue reading ‘Student film highlights plight of the oceans’

Acidification putting sea life at risk

A U.S. biological oceanographer says acidification could be causing a slow-motion destruction of ocean ecosystems.

Victoria Fabry, a visiting researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, said tests show just 48 hours of exposure to slightly corrosive seawater causes mollusc shells to start to dissolve.
Continue reading ‘Acidification putting sea life at risk’

Carbonated Oceans

The loading of carbon dioxide into oceans is a consequence of fossil fuel use that has only begun to be widely recognized as problematic in the past decade. Its subsequent effects on seawater chemistry have the potential to spread ecological disaster to a variety of industries dependent on the seas.

Like a sinkful of hard water deposits suddenly doused with vinegar, the shells of tiny marine snails in Victoria Fabry’s test tanks don’t stand a chance.

Fabry, a biological oceanographer and visiting researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, studies the effects of ocean acidification on the molluscs known as pteropods. In one experiment, only 48 hours of exposure to slightly corrosive seawater caused normally smooth shells to become frayed at the edges on their way to eventual dissolution, severely diminishing their owners’ chances of survival.

The acidity of the water in Fabry’s lab had been ratcheted up to levels that might not be seen until the end of the century, but she and other scientists fear that ongoing acidification of ocean water could be causing a slow-motion destruction of ocean ecosystems now.
Continue reading ‘Carbonated Oceans’

CO2 damage to oceans could lead to a global calamity

One of the more serious threats now facing all life on this planet has crept up almost unnoticed

Our collective indifference to the oceans may go some way towards explaining how one of the more serious threats now facing all life on this planet has crept up almost unnoticed. And that is ocean acidification.

Human activity over the last two centuries has pumped an estimated 1,000 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is the “greenhouse” gas that is implicated in global warming.

We have, however, been extremely fortunate that around half of this extra load of CO2 has been reabsorbed from the atmosphere and dissolved into the world’s oceans as carbonic acid. Were this not the case, temperatures would have risen far more sharply than the one degree or so of average warming that has occurred so far.
Continue reading ‘CO2 damage to oceans could lead to a global calamity’

Warning over ocean acidity

Human pollution is turning seas acidic so quickly the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the era of the dinosaurs, scientists have warned.

The rapid acidification is caused by CO2 belched from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean. The chemical change is placing unprecedented pressure on marine life and could cause widespread extinctions, the experts say.

The study, by scientists at Bristol University in south-west England, was presented at a special three-day summit of climate scientists in Copenhagen this month. The conference was intended to update the science of global warming and move politicians into acting on carbon emissions.

The study predicts “dangerous” levels of ocean acidification and severe consequences for organisms called marine calcifiers, which form chalky shells. It says: “We find the future rate of surface ocean acidification and environmental pressure on marine calcifiers very likely unprecedented in the past 65mn years.”
Continue reading ‘Warning over ocean acidity’


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