Archive for September, 2010



OSPAR Quality Status Report

Impacts of climate change are now becoming evident, especially in the northern Regions (I and II). While the nature and rate of these impacts are uncertain, rising sea temperature and increasing acidification represent major threats to marine ecosystems in the OSPAR area. Mitigation and adaptation are a necessity and will alter human activities and their pressures on the sea.
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PhD graduate research opportunity in coral bleaching and ocean acidification biogeochemistry at the Ohio State University

Desired (but not required) qualifications:
– MSc in Marine Science, Geology, Biology, or any physical science. Exceptional applicants without an MSc will also be considered.
– Experience in isotope biogeochemistry, organic chemistry, or relevant coursework
– Tropical fieldwork experience or coral aquaculture experience
– The successful candidate must be accepted into the graduate program in the School of Earth Sciences at The Ohio State University
Continue reading ‘PhD graduate research opportunity in coral bleaching and ocean acidification biogeochemistry at the Ohio State University’

Update on U.S. and international ocean acidification activities

Sarah Cooley’s presentation on “Update on U.S. and international ocean acidification activities ” given at the OCB workshop held at Scripps in July 2010 is available in pdf and video format.
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Climate scientists debunk prominent contrarian Christopher Monckton’s congressional testimony

A group of five scientists solicited responses from more than twenty world-class climate scientists to the May 6th testimony by Christopher Monckton to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. These climate scientists “…have thoroughly refuted all of Mr. Monckton’s major assertions, clearly demonstrating a number of obvious and elementary errors,” the report says. “We encourage the U.S. Congress to give careful consideration to the implications this document has for the care that should be exercised in choosing expert witnesses to inform the legislative process.”
Continue reading ‘Climate scientists debunk prominent contrarian Christopher Monckton’s congressional testimony’

Acid ocean eating away at New England shellfish

It’s been called climate change’s ‘evil twin.’ As carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere, it dissolves in the ocean, creating carbonic acid that is disrupting the pH balance of the ocean. Voila, ocean acidificatoin. It’s estimated that the ocean is now 30% more acidic than it was 150 years ago. That could spell trouble for animals like corals and clams that build skeletons and shells out of calcium carbonate, because acidic conditions limit the amount of calcium carbonate in the water. It’s a problem that the National Academy of Science says has received too little attention.

Scott Doney – an ocean acidification researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – has said that New England is the most vulnerable region in the country when it comes to the impacts of ocean acidification. At a conference in early 2009, he said that ocean acidification could start affecting shellfish within 20 years.
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Richard Feely awarded a Heinz Award

For his extraordinary efforts in identifying ocean acidity as global warming’s “evil twin.” Studying the world’s oceans since 1974, Feely is recognized by the Heinz Awards for his extensive study of ocean acidification caused by rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Logging over 1,000 days at sea and over 50 scientific expeditions, Feely’s startling discoveries prove acidity levels are rising fast and represent a major challenge to the health of the ocean’s food web. Throughout his career, Feely has promoted improvements in public policy to protect oceans and marine ecosystems. His research documenting the pace and extent of acidification have brought this issue world-wide attention and forced recognition of the fact that policy measures that only address global warming will fail to fully confront global change.
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Planet Earth online – ocean acidification (audio)

The effects of climate change range from rising temperatures and higher sea levels, to extreme weather and mass extinctions.  If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a hidden process that’s over the underway in the seas and that is that the oceans are becoming more acidic.  In the latest of our features from the Planet Earth Podcast Team, Richard Hollingham accept reports from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory where scientists were investigating the effects of ocean acidification…
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Report on a desk study to identify likely sources of error in the measurements of carbonate system parameters and related calculations, particularly with respect to coastal waters and ocean acidification experiments

Supplement to DEFRA contract ME4133 “DEFRApH monitoring project”

Hydes, D.J., Loucaides, S. and Tyrrell, T. (2010) Report on a desk study to identify likely sources of error in the measurements of carbonate system parameters and related calculations, particularly with respect to coastal waters and ocean acidification experiments. Supplement to DEFRA contract ME4133 “DEFRApH monitoring project”. Southampton, UK, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, 53pp. (National Oceanography Centre Southampton Research and Consultancy Report, 83)
Continue reading ‘Report on a desk study to identify likely sources of error in the measurements of carbonate system parameters and related calculations, particularly with respect to coastal waters and ocean acidification experiments’

Review: geological and experimental evidence for secular variation in seawater Mg/Ca (calcite-aragonite seas) and its effects on marine biological calcification (update)

Synchronized transitions in the polymorph mineralogy of the major reef-building and sediment-producing calcareous marine organisms and abiotic CaCO3 precipitates (ooids, marine cements) throughout Phanerozoic time are believed to have been caused by tectonically induced variations in the Mg/Ca ratio of seawater (molar Mg/Ca>2=”aragonite seas”, <2=”calcite seas”). Here, I assess the geological evidence in support of secular variation in seawater Mg/Ca and its effects on marine calcifiers, and review a series of recent experiments that investigate the effects of seawater Mg/Ca (1.0–5.2) on extant representatives of calcifying taxa that have experienced variations in this ionic ratio of seawater throughout the geologic past.

Secular variation in seawater Mg/Ca is supported by synchronized secular variations in (1) the ionic composition of fluid inclusions in primary marine halite, (2) the mineralogies of late stage marine evaporites, abiogenic carbonates, and reef- and sediment-forming marine calcifiers, (3) the Mg/Ca ratios of fossil echinoderms, molluscs, rugose corals, and abiogenic carbonates, (4) global rates of tectonism that drive the exchange of Mg2+ and Ca2+ along zones of ocean crust production, and (5) additional proxies of seawater Mg/Ca including Sr/Mg ratios of abiogenic carbonates, Sr/Ca ratios of biogenic carbonates, and Br concentrations in marine halite.

Laboratory experiments have revealed that aragonite-secreting bryopsidalean algae and scleractinian corals and calcite-secreting coccolithophores exhibit higher rates of calcification and growth in experimental seawaters formulated with seawater Mg/Ca ratios that favor their skeletal mineral. These results support the assertion that seawater Mg/Ca played an important role in determining which hypercalcifying marine organisms were the major reef-builders and sediment-producers throughout Earth history. The observation that primary production increased along with calcification within the bryopsidalean and coccolithophorid algae in mineralogically favorable seawater is consistent with the hypothesis that calcification promotes photosynthesis within some species of these algae through the liberation of CO2.
Continue reading ‘Review: geological and experimental evidence for secular variation in seawater Mg/Ca (calcite-aragonite seas) and its effects on marine biological calcification (update)’

Shellfish feel the burn: damage linked to atmospheric CO2

Last week, the National Academies of Science released a report on research of what has been called “the other carbon problem”—ocean acidification. Excess carbon in the atmosphere has been lowering the ocean’s pH (increasing its acidity), which has the potential to severely alter the ocean’s chemistry. The NAS report says that we’re way behind in studying this problem, which wasn’t even fully recognized until recently. Just how far behind we are is made clear by a paper that will be released this week by PNAS, which reveals that two species of commercially harvested shellfish are likely to already be suffering increased mortality due to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Shellfish feel the burn: damage linked to atmospheric CO2’


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