Ocean acidification funding

The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, are to lead major elements of the UK’s Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOARP), which will investigate the potentially significant negative impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems, and ultimately its possible influence on global climate.

UKOARP involves 101 scientists from 21 of the UK’s top scientific institutions and is the UK’s first research programme to investigate the impacts of ocean acidification. The UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme consists of several projects working together to investigate different aspects of this global issue.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, ocean acidity has risen by about 30%. Ocean acidification is estimated to be currently occurring at a rate faster than has been experienced during the last 20 million years. If carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise and the acidity of the World’s oceans and seas continues to increase at this rate this could have serious consequences for important cycles that drive the climate as well as marine life (e.g. corals, shellfish, algae and the plankton that form the base of the food chain) within this century. Such impacts could reach far beyond the marine environment, to that of climate, food provision and human health and well-being.

The scale and nature of the effects of ocean acidification are still poorly known and require substantial research to enable society to understand them better.

Dr Toby Tyrrell of the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES) and colleague Prof. Eric Achterberg, will coordinate a GBP3.6 million multi-institute consortium to investigate the impacts of acidification on the surface ocean and the plankton (both calcifying and non-calcifying) which inhabit it.

Hydro International, 21 June 2010. Full article.

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