BCC to Host Talk on Ocean Acidification

The BCC Division of Business, Science, Mathematics and Technologies will be hosting a talk by Dr. Christina McGraw of the Gustaf H. Carlson School of Chemistry at Cark University. The subject of the talk will be: “Ocean acidification: causes, consequences and detection.” The presentation, with Q&A will take place in Melville Hall, room 201 from 12:15-1:15 pm on Tuesday, November 1st.

Since the industrial revolution, the oceans have absorbed almost half of the fossil fuel CO2 released to the atmosphere. While this has reduced the effect of anthropogenic emissions on climate change, it has also led to significant changes in seawater chemistry. These changes have already led to a decrease in the pH of the world’s ocean of 0.1 units and are predicted to lead to a further decrease of 0.3-0.4 units by the end of the century. This acidification of seawater has also led to a reduction in the amount of carbonate available to calcifying organisms, such oysters and clams. If the level of carbonate becomes sufficiently small, the construction of calcium carbonate based shells and exoskeleta by some marine organisms will become difficult or impossible. However, the effect on individual species will depend on fine-scale, localised pH variability and cannot be predicted from coarse global models. Our laboratory is developing portable sensors to measure localized pH variability and study the impact of these natural variations on calcification.

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