Funding for ocean acidification research

An £11million, five-year study into the effects of climate change on British seas has been launched with funding from the government

The research, which is partly funded by the department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra), will look at the effects of ocean acidification on biodiversity, habitats, species and the economy.

Ocean acidification is caused by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by the sea causing the acidity of the surface of the sea has risen by 30 per cent in the last 200 years.

Scientists are finding evidence that higher acidity affects the ability of marine organisms such as shellfish, lobsters and corals to build their skeletons and shells, as reported in DIVE’s May edition.

The minister for the natural and marine environment, Huw Irranca-Davies, 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.’

Defra is contributing £2.5million in the first three years of the study, with a provisional £800,000 in the final two years and the Natural Environment Research Councils are adding a further £7.7million.

Jo Mattock, DIVE MAGAZINE, 6 May 2009. Article.

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