Archive for February, 2010

Acid–base regulatory ability of the cephalopod (Sepia officinalis) in response to environmental hypercapnia

Acidification of ocean surface waters by anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is a currently developing scenario that warrants a broadening of research foci in the study of acid–base physiology. Recent studies working with environmentally relevant CO2 levels, indicate that some echinoderms and molluscs reduce metabolic rates, soft tissue growth and calcification during hypercapnic exposure. In contrast to all prior invertebrate species studied so far, growth trials with the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis found no indication of reduced growth or calcification performance during long-term exposure to 0.6 kPa CO2. It is hypothesized that the differing sensitivities to elevated seawater pCO2 could be explained by taxa specific differences in acid–base regulatory capacity. In this study, we examined the acid–base regulatory ability of S. officinalis in vivo, using a specially modified cannulation technique as well as 31P NMR spectroscopy. During acute exposure to 0.6 kPa CO2, S. officinalis rapidly increased its blood [HCO3 ] to 10.4 mM through active ion-transport processes, and partially compensated the hypercapnia induced respiratory acidosis. A minor decrease in intracellular pH (pHi) and stable intracellular phosphagen levels indicated efficient pHi regulation. We conclude that S. officinalis is not only an efficient acid–base regulator, but is also able to do so without disturbing metabolic equilibria in characteristic tissues or compromising aerobic capacities. The cuttlefish did not exhibit acute intolerance to hypercapnia that has been hypothesized for more active cephalopod species (squid). Even though blood pH (pHe) remained 0.18 pH units below control values, arterial O2 saturation was not compromised in S. officinalis because of the comparatively lower pH sensitivity of oxygen binding to its blood pigment. This raises questions concerning the potentially broad range of sensitivity to changes in acid–base status amongst invertebrates, as well as to the underlying mechanistic origins. Further studies are needed to better characterize the connection between acid–base status and animal fitness in various marine species.
Continue reading ‘Acid–base regulatory ability of the cephalopod (Sepia officinalis) in response to environmental hypercapnia’

Catlin Arctic team brave thin ice and polar bears to monitor acid oceans

Scientists to set up ice base in northern Canada to examine impact of ocean acidification on the region’s animals and plants

Scientists and explorers will brave polar bears, thin ice and frostbite within the next fortnight as they embark on an Arctic expedition to examine the impact of an acidifying ocean on the region’s animals and plants.

The Catlin Arctic Survey will set up an “ice base” in northern Canada for the scientists while a separate team of adventurers will undertake a 500km trek across sea ice off Greenland. Both will investigate the impact of ocean acidification on marine life, while the explorers will also measure variations in sea ice thickness. Last year’s Catlin Arctic Survey showed the Arctic ice was thinner than expected.
Continue reading ‘Catlin Arctic team brave thin ice and polar bears to monitor acid oceans’

Arctic expedition to probe rising acidity

Scientists will brave extreme conditions to investigate the rising acidity of the Arctic Ocean in one of the first expeditions of its kind.

The Catlin Arctic Survey 2010, starting next month, will explore the effects of increasing carbon dioxide emissions as experts warn the issue could devastate marine life.

A team of leading international research scientists will face minus 45C (minus 49F) temperatures, with a wind chill factor of minus 75C (minus 103F), during the two-month trip.

They will also battle against the threat of frost bite, thin ice and polar bears.

Dr Carol Turley, of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, said the expedition was thought to be one of the first of its kind.

“This will be one of the first chances for scientists to investigate ocean acidification under natural field conditions under the Arctic sea ice,” she said.
Continue reading ‘Arctic expedition to probe rising acidity’

Bangor scientist explores CO2 in Arctic ice

A Bangor University scientist is taking part in a study in the Arctic Sea to look into how ice affects the movement of carbon dioxide between sea and air.

Dr Laura Edwards will spend six weeks camping on the edge of the sea ice 750 miles (1,200 km) from the geographic North Pole with an expedition team.

The 36-year-old from the School of Ocean Sciences said previously it was believed ice acted as a barrier to CO2.

But she said it is now thought that is not the case.

“It was believed that the sea ice acted as a barrier to the movement of CO2 between the sea and the air, but it it now thought that it is not the case,” said Dr Edwards, who has a doctorate in glaciology.
Continue reading ‘Bangor scientist explores CO2 in Arctic ice’

Trek to gauge carbon’s impact on Arctic sealife

Two teams of explorers and scientists are on their way to the Arctic for the first international project to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in water beneath the ice.

Three British explorers will be airlifted to a remote location in the Arctic Ocean to start a 50-day trek towards the geographic North Pole in temperatures as low as minus 75 degrees Celsius, including wind chill.

A second team of international experts on ocean acidification will be working from a temporary ice base on Ellef Ringnes Island, on the edge of the Arctic Ocean near the Canadian coast.

Both teams will be drilling into the ice to collect water samples used to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the water at various depths, according to the director of the Catlin Arctic Survey, arctic explorer Pen Hadow.
Continue reading ‘Trek to gauge carbon’s impact on Arctic sealife’

Talk explores acidification of Puget Sound

The Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee will host a free presentation on ocean acidification and its effects on Puget Sound.

The 40-minute presentation is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 4 in the second floor conference room of the Whatcom County Civic Center at 322 N. Commercial Street in Bellingham. A question-and-answer period will follow.
The speaker is Dr. M. Brady Olson of Western Washington University.
Continue reading ‘Talk explores acidification of Puget Sound’

Global General Polar explorer takes on Arctic Ocean Trek

British polar explorer Pen Hadow on Thursday unveiled his latest challenge, leading a team of scientists to investigate rising acid levels in the Arctic Ocean that threaten marine life.

Hadow and leading international researchers will probe the effects of rising carbon dioxide emissions on the acid levels of the ocean when their arctic adventure gets under way next month.

The two-month Catlin Arctic Survey 2010 will included a trek hundreds of miles long across floating sea ice in extreme conditions, facing freezing temperatures and polar bears.
Continue reading ‘Global General Polar explorer takes on Arctic Ocean Trek’

Polar explorer Pen Hadow brings scientists and explorers together for arctic expedition – to Explore earth’s ‘other carbon dioxide problem’, ocean acidification

The Catlin Arctic Survey today announced it has teamed up with leading research scientists to investigate the effects of carbon dioxide on the Arctic Ocean.

Polar explorer Pen Hadow, who is Director of the mission, said it will begin in early March and take scientists to an Ice Base only 750 miles from the North Geographic Pole to study the potential impact of rising levels of acidity in some of the coldest water on the planet.

Some scientists believe that, based on current projections, the pH of the world’s oceans could reach levels by 2050 not seen on Earth for 20 million years with potentially serious consequences for all marine life.

For the international scientists studying ocean acidification, the Catlin Arctic Survey 2010 is an important opportunity to gain access to a unique but inhospitable environment, most notably in the winter and early spring.

Dr. Carol Turley of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory said: “We understand from models projecting future ocean chemistry that the Arctic Ocean is particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification because cold water absorbs CO2 more effectively than warm oceans, so much so that it may become corrosive to some shelled organisms within a few decades.

“As you can imagine, taking samples and carrying out experimental work is particularly difficult due to the harsh environment. This will be one of the first chances for scientists to investigate ocean acidification under natural field conditions under the Arctic sea ice, and will help us to test out models and refine our projections.”
Continue reading ‘Polar explorer Pen Hadow brings scientists and explorers together for arctic expedition – to Explore earth’s ‘other carbon dioxide problem’, ocean acidification’

2010 APS Intersociety Meeting: Session on physiological effects of ocean acidification on marine animals in times of ocean warming: ecosystem implications

2010 APS Intersociety Meeting: Global Change and Global Science: Comparative Physiology in a Changing World
August 4-7, 2010
Westminster, Colorado


About the Meeting

The theme of this meeting will be how comparative and evolutionary animal physiologists can contribute to understanding the consequences of global change and how understanding global change requires broad, global science. To our knowledge, this will be the first conference of any type to focus on the effects of global climate change on animal physiology. This meeting is designed to provide a strong scientific program with participant interaction and emphasize emerging research performed by young investigators. Increasing societal focus on the challenges of global climate change is bringing new funding and career opportunities, and another goal of the meeting is to include workshops related to career choices for comparative physiologists, and to help physiologists build connections with agencies and institutions interested in global effects on animals.

Many aspects of the Earth’s atmosphere are changing either regionally or globally in response to human activities, especially fossil-fuel burning, and have changed even more drastically in magnitude over the planet’s history. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports suggests that the resilience of many of Earth’s ecosystems will be compromised by climate change in the coming century, leading to decreased cereal grain productivity, increased water stress in semi-arid regions dependent on snowmelt, increased damage from storms and floods, and widespread human health effects including malnutrition and increased deaths from storms, cardio-respiratory diseases, and insect-borne diseases. However, key uncertainties remain in understanding the effects of atmospheric and climate change on ecosystems and health.
Continue reading ‘2010 APS Intersociety Meeting: Session on physiological effects of ocean acidification on marine animals in times of ocean warming: ecosystem implications’

Warning over ocean acidification

Rapid ocean acidification could affect the ability of marine organisms to survive, a study has revealed.

A new model, capable of assessing the rate at which waters are acidifying, suggests that changes in the deep ocean may surpass anything seen in the last 65 million years.

The research by the University of Bristol also predicts higher rates of environmental change at the ocean’s surface, jeopardising the ability of vital plankton to adapt.

The oceans are now absorbing about a quarter of the CO2 released into the atmosphere, forcing the pH of the surface ocean down, in a process known as “ocean acidification”.

If the pH continues to fall, we may see the shells of marine organisms begin to dissolve, slower growth, muscle wastage, dwarfism or reduced activity, with knock-on effects throughout the ecosystem.
Continue reading ‘Warning over ocean acidification’


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