Ocean acidification: Implications for west coast ecosystems

Dr. Richard Feely

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most important “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere affecting the radiative heat balance of the Earth. As a direct result of the industrial and agricultural activities of humans over the past two centuries, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by about 100 parts per million.

Event information
When: Wednesday, May 25, 2011; 7:00 pm–8:30 pm
Cost: $8 for public; $4 general Aquarium members; Free for Pacific Circle members, teachers, and students with Valid ID and advanced reservations
Tickets: You can purchase tickets online for this event. You will need to select the option from the menu, correct time, and date on the following pages.
RSVP: (562) 590-3100, ext. 0

The atmospheric concentration of CO2 is now higher than experienced on Earth for at least the last 800,000 years and is expected to continue to rise. This will lead to significant temperature increases in the atmosphere and ocean by the end of this century. The global ocean is the largest natural long-term reservoir for this excess heat and CO2. It absorbs approximately 85 percent of the heat and 30 percent of the anthropogenic (human-sourced) carbon released into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial era.

Recent studies have demonstrated that both the temperature increases and the increased concentrations of CO2 in the ocean are causing significant changes in marine ecosystems. Many marine organisms are already affected by these anthropogenic stresses, which have led to coral bleaching and ocean acidification. Dr. Feely will discuss the present and future implications of increased temperature and CO2 levels as they relate to the health of our West Coast ocean ecosystems. He will also conduct a live demonstration of ocean acidification.

Dr. Feely is a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. He also holds an affiliate full professor faculty position at the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography. His major research areas are carbon cycling in the ocean and ocean acidification processes. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of St. Thomas, in St Paul, Minnesota in 1969. He then went on to Texas AM University where he received both a master’s of science degree in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1974. Both of his post-graduate degrees were in chemical oceanography.

He is the co-chair of the U.S. CLIVAR (Climate Variability and Prediction)/CO2 Repeat Hydrography Program. He is also a member of the steering committee for the U.S. Ocean Carbon and Biochemistry Program. He is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Feely has authored more than 200 refereed research publications. He was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Award in 2006 for his pioneering research on ocean acidification. In 2007 he was elected to be a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Dr. Richard Feely, Aquarium of the Pacific Events, Web site.

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