Invitation to ocean acidification PIs: (Editor’s note: and other interested parties)

I invite you to join me for a half hour, web-based, interactive event TOMORROW (Tuesday, August 16) from 2 – 2:30 PM. We will interact with Dr. Chris Martens and his University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill team aboard the Aquarius as they conduct their ocean acidification-related research. There will be an opportunity to pose questions in real time. See full description and connection information below.

Live event from the Aquarius undersea laboratory A firsthand look at ocean acidification research

Join with scientists on August 16 from 2:00-2:30 pm (Eastern) for a live event from the ocean floor in and around Aquarius undersea laboratory where Chris Martens, Ph.D., and his collaborators will offer a firsthand look at the cutting-edge research they’re conducting on ocean acidification. Online participants will see and hear from scientists in Aquarius and from a scientist with a helmet camera at nearby Conch Reef. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the mission’s progress.

To watch the event live, visit ustream.tv/aquariusreefbase. To interact with the aquanauts and ask questions you’ll need to create a uStream account and log in. Once logged-in, click on the ‘chat’ tab to ask questions. Go to http://www.ustream.tv/everywhere to download apps for mobile devices. (Note: if links do not open, cut and paste the links on your search bar)*

Martens and his team from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill have developed new technologies to remotely monitor carbon dioxide levels for extended periods of time. One of these includes a mass spectrometer that measures various gases in the water and sends the information in real time to a remote laptop. By differentiating between carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and carbon dioxide generated on the seafloor by reef animals, Dr. Marten’s work, partly funded by the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, will help coral reef managers address problems with ocean acidification.

The ten-day saturation mission aboard the Aquarius undersea laboratory began August 9, and involves an intensive examination to understand the importance of local processes relative to global-scale acidification processes of healthy and degraded reefs. More information about the mission and a video featuring Martens is at:
http://aquarius.uncw.edu/missions/2011/08_2011/expd

Carbon dioxide is a critical component of the Earth’s atmosphere. Yet, since the start of the Industrial Revolution, emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere have risen dramatically. Not all the excess carbon dioxide, however, stays in the atmosphere and scientists estimate that one-third of the excess gas has been absorbed by the ocean. This process is fundamentally changing the chemistry of the ocean, a phenomenon known as ocean acidification. Since the 18th Century there has been about a 30 percent increase in ocean acidity causing a cascade of chemical reactions that makes it more difficult for marine organisms to build shells, calcify, and maintain various metabolic processes. Understanding the mechanisms of ocean acidification can help predict future impacts and provide potential mitigation strategies.

An important aspect of Dr. Martens’ experiments is extended access to the reef environment. The Aquarius Undersea Laboratory, owned by NOAA and operated by University of North Carolina Wilmington, provides this access. Located in 63 feet of water on Conch Reef off the coast of Key Largo, the saturation diving capability of the Aquarius habitat allows scientists to work up to nine hours a day in depths of up to 100 feet. The team is also able to conduct shorter preliminary and follow up investigations around the habitat throughout the year.

Commemorating 10 years of ocean exploration, NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research uses state-of-the-art technologies to explore the Earth’s largely unknown ocean in all its dimensions for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge.

NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program is conducting research to predict and prepare for the full impact of ocean acidification on our coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems

The Aquarius undersea laboratory is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is part of Aquarius Reef Base which is operated by the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at www.noaa.gov and join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels social media channels.

Libby Jewett, PhD
Director, NOAA Ocean Acidification Program
NOAA Research
1315 East West Hwy
SSMC 3, Rm 11806
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Libby.Jewett@NOAA.gov


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