Archive for April, 2009

Near-future levels of ocean acidification do not affect sperm motility and fertilization kinetics in the oyster Crassostrea gigas

An increasing number of studies are now reporting the effects of ocean acidification on a broad range of marine species, processes and systems. Many of these are investigating the sensitive early life-history stages that several major reviews have highlighted as being potentially most susceptible to ocean acidification. Nonetheless there remain few investigations of the effects of ocean acidification on the very earliest, and critical, process of fertilization, and still fewer that have investigated levels of ocean acidification relevant for the coming century. Here we report the effects of near-future levels of ocean acidification (≈−0.35 pH unit change) on sperm swimming speed, sperm motility, and fertilization kinetics in a population of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas from western Sweden. We found no significant effect of ocean acidification – a result that was well supported by power analysis. Similar findings from Japan suggest that this may be a globally robust result, and we emphasise the need for experiments on multiple populations from throughout a species’ range. We also discuss the importance of sound experimental design and power analysis in accurate interpretation of non-significant results.
Continue reading ‘Near-future levels of ocean acidification do not affect sperm motility and fertilization kinetics in the oyster Crassostrea gigas’

University of Plymouth Research Studentship Scheme 2009 (closing date 26th May 2009)

The University of Plymouth is currently advertising 40 full-time PhD studentships that will start in October 2009.

Some of these awards are likely to be allocated to the Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre (MBERC) with the opportunity to work on topics included within our main research themes. For details of these research themes and research interests of individual staff within MBERC please visit our web site (http://www.research.plymouth.ac.uk/mberc/).
Continue reading ‘University of Plymouth Research Studentship Scheme 2009 (closing date 26th May 2009)’

Kodiak lab measuring effects of ocean acidification

Our oceans, teaming with life and a rich source of food, are changing.

Absorbing half of the world’s carbon emissions — in excess of hundreds of millions of tons — is enough to potentially change marine life as we know it.

And what may seem like a subtle shift in chemistry to the average person could spell disaster. A lab here is providing clues about what’s in store, using king crabs, which are the ocean’s equivalent of a canary in the coal mine.

“If they are impacted by ocean acidification, we are talking about the entire food chain being impacted from the bottom up,” said Dr. Bob Foy with the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center.
Continue reading ‘Kodiak lab measuring effects of ocean acidification’

Adapting to extreme environments

A Dalhousie student is bringing understanding to the troubling problem of ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

As an undergraduate, Kim Davies worked with Verena Tunnicliffe, biology professor at the University Victoria, examining how mussels have adapted to extremely acidic waters near underwater volcanoes. The paper she co-authored will be published in the May issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

“It’s such a euphoric feeling to see that something I did as an undergrad is regarded as important science,” says Ms. Davies, a PhD student at Dalhousie whose research is now focused on the feeding ecology of the North Atlantic right whale. “Wow, it’s so great just to see your name in a high-level journal.”
Continue reading ‘Adapting to extreme environments’

UK funds sea acidification study

The UK government has launched an £11m ($16m) five-year research programme into ocean acidification.

Researchers say seas are becoming more acidic as a result of CO2 from human activities being absorbed by seawater, which alters the oceans’ chemistry.

Ministers say acidification of the oceans will be one of the major environmental concerns of this century.

The study will focus on the Atlantic, Antarctic and Arctic oceans and assess how marine ecosystems are affected.

The programme, co-funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc), will also examine the implications for people and the economy.

“Ocean acidification will be one of the biggest environmental concerns of this century, with major and far-reaching impacts,” said Nature and Marine Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies.
Continue reading ‘UK funds sea acidification study’

£11m to protect seas from climate change

A five-year, £11 million study into the effects of climate change on Britain’s seas has been announced as scientists warn of more acidic seas affecting the food chain.

Ocean acidity, caused by increased amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the sea, has risen 30 per cent in the last 200 years, faster than any time in the last 65million years, with serious implications for sealife and our climate, according to a new report.

The sea absorbs CO2 in the atmosphere but over time as emissions have increased it has become more acidic, which means not only will it absorb less CO2 in future but that corals, plankton, shellfish and other vital links in the food chain will be under threat.

Now Defra is jointly funding a major research programme with the Natural Environment Research Councils (NERC). It will concentrate on the North East Atlantic, Antarctic and Arctic oceans and study the effects of acidification on biodiversity, habitats, species and wider socio-economic implications.

Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for the Natural & Marine Environment, said: “Ocean acidification will be one of the biggest environmental concerns of this century, with major and far-reaching impacts.
Continue reading ‘£11m to protect seas from climate change’

EXCLUSIVE: £11m climate change study

Ministers will today launch an £11 million study into the effects of climate change on Britain’s oceans after Plymouth-based scientists warned of more acidic seas affecting the food chain.

The five-year investigation will include looking rising levels of carbon monoxide in the ocean as a new report claims the amount of carbon dioxide in the sea has risen at a faster rate than at any time in the last 65 million years.

Marine minister Huw Irranca-Davies will today warn: “Ocean acidification will be one of the biggest environmental concerns of this century, with major and far-reaching impacts.

“We need to understand much more about the scale and nature of the effect CO2 is having on our oceans and marine life.”
Continue reading ‘EXCLUSIVE: £11m climate change study’

Warning over rising ocean acidity

The oceans are becoming more acidic at a faster rate than for 65 million years because of climate change, a report has warned.

The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership report card said the increasing acidity of the oceans caused by carbon dioxide could affect the climate further and hit wildlife.

The “ecosystem linkages” report, which looked at the links between different impacts of climate change, also said there had been large reductions in Arctic sea ice and declines in some seabirds as a result of changes to the seas around the UK.

It warned climate change could increase the likelihood of non-native species thriving in the UK’s marine environment, while coastal communities faced threats such as flooding and opportunities including tourism in the future.
Continue reading ‘Warning over rising ocean acidity’

Acid test for British seas

An £11m study into how acidic Britain’s seas have become has been announced by the government.

The five-year study will look at the north east Atlantic, Antarctic and Arctic oceans, following fears acid levels have risen by 30% in the last 200 years.

The sea absorbs large quantities of carbon dioxide (co2) but in turn becomes more acidic.

As emissions increase so does the level of acidity forcing the government to look at biodiversity, habitats, species as well as how this will impact on people who make a living from the sea.

Huw Irranca-Davies, minister for the natural & marine environment, said: “Ocean acidification will be one of the biggest environmental concerns of this century, with major and far-reaching impacts.

“We need to understand much more about the scale and nature of the effect (co2) is having on our oceans and marine life.”
Continue reading ‘Acid test for British seas’

New plans to study ocean acidity

The government has announced it’s going to spend millions of pounds on new studies into the world’s oceans.

They are worried about sea water becoming more acidic due to rising levels of a gas called carbon dioxide caused by planes, cars and factories.

Experts think the acidity levels of the oceans could lead to lots of wildlife becoming extinct unless action’s taken.

They will focus the research on the Atlantic, Antarctic and Arctic oceans and study how they’ve been affected.
Continue reading ‘New plans to study ocean acidity’


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