Archive for February, 2012

Post-doc opportunity: ocean acidification and coral reef metabolism

Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology on the Stanford campus

We seek to hire an outstanding post-doctoral researcher who can lead research projects that contribute to a better understanding of effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs. We are engaged in a project to use geochemical approaches (i.e., measuring changes in water chemistry) to evaluate how ocean acidification might impact coral reef growth in the natural environment. We are particularly interested in performing experiments in which we manipulate water chemistry flowing over a part of the reef.

Continue reading ‘Post-doc opportunity: ocean acidification and coral reef metabolism’

Ocean Acidification – How will ongoing ocean acidification affect marine life?

Continue reading ‘Ocean Acidification – How will ongoing ocean acidification affect marine life?’

SIN podcast: Jason Hall-Spencer on ocean acidification (audio)

With the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting just wrapping up in Vancouver, news stories and features from the leading edges of research are starting to percolate out into the mainstream media. One timely example is that of Dr. Jason Hall-Spencer, a marine scientist at the University of Plymouth who was featured on the BBC at the weekend. Our Science, Innovation and Policy Officer in Vancouver, Dr. Paolo Marcazzan, caught up with Dr. Hall-Spencer at the conference for a brief interview about his work.

Continue reading ‘SIN podcast: Jason Hall-Spencer on ocean acidification (audio)’

Oregon Sea Grant research projects

Oregon Sea Grant has committed nearly $2 million to nine research and outreach projects over the next two years, including investigations into hypoxia and ocean acidification, community tsunami preparedness, and the migration and diseases of native salmon. The competitive awards are funded by NOAA dollars awarded to the Oregon program as one of the nation’s 32 National Sea Grant College Programs.

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Warming, more acidic oceans threaten New England fisheries (audio)

Lobstermen in the Gulf of Maine have posted record harvests in recent years. But in the waters just south of Cape Cod, the situation is dramatically different. Lobster populations there crashed a decade ago and have not recovered, leaving lobstermen to face the potential closure of their fishery. In the second installment of our Cape Change series, we take a look at one of the most dramatic examples of how climate change is affecting New England’s fisheries.

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Tracking an ocean of carbon (video)

The Carbon Group at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) works to advance our scientific understanding of the ocean carbon cycle and how it is changing over time. PMEL’s research includes documenting the evolving state of the ocean carbon chemistry with high quality measurements on ships and autonomous platforms, studying the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle and the processes involved, and investigating how rising atmospheric CO2 and climate change affect the chemistry of the ocean and its marine ecosystems.

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Ocean researchers dive deeper into Puget Sound’s acidification

FRIDAY HARBOR, San Juan Island —

To understand the bizarre ways changes in ocean chemistry may affect Northwest sea life, there may be no simpler creature to start with than mussels.

When scientists in a Friday Harbor laboratory exposed mussels to slightly acidic marine water, they found the tiny fibers the shellfish use to cling to rocks stayed as strong as ever.

But when the water warmed, those fibers, called byssal threads, became less adhesive — and that could prove deadly.

“Crabs, fish and sea stars love to eat mussels, but it’s hard for predators to pull them off rocks,” said Emily Carrington, a University of Washington professor who has studied mussels for 20 years. “But when waves crash and they’re not firmly attached, mussels get knocked off. Then they fall to the bottom. And that’s crab city.”

It’s the kind of subtle but important change that has become the focus of new marine research trying to grasp how human-caused increases in carbon-dioxide emissions may change Puget Sound and the oceans.

It’s also a sign of a new sophistication in ocean acidification research.

Continue reading ‘Ocean researchers dive deeper into Puget Sound’s acidification’

Acid–base balance and metabolic response of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus to different seawater pH and temperatures

In order to better understand if the metabolic responses of echinoids could be related to their acid–base status in an ocean acidification context, we studied the response of an intertidal sea urchin species, Paracentrotus lividus, submitted to low pH at two different temperatures.
Individuals were submitted to control (8.0) and low pH (7.7 and 7.4) at 10°C and 16°C (19 days). The relation between the coelomic fluid acid–base status, the RNA/DNA ratio of gonads and the individual oxygen uptake were studied.
The coelomic fluid pH decreased with the aquarium seawater, independently of temperature, but this explained only 13% of the pH variation. The coelomic fluid showed though a partial buffer capacity that was not related to skeleton dissolution ([Mg2+] and [Ca2+] did not differ between pH treatments). There was an interaction between temperature and pH on the oxygen uptake (V O2) which was increased at pH 7.7 and 7.4 at 10°C in comparison with controls, but not at 16°C, indicating an upregulation of the metabolism at low temperature and pH. However, gonad RNA/DNA ratios did not differ according to pH and temperature treatments, indicating that even if maintenance of physiological activities has an elevated metabolic cost when individuals are exposed to stress, they are not directly affected during short-term exposure. Long-term studies are needed in order to verify if gonad production/growth will be affected by low pH seawaters exposure. Continue reading ‘Acid–base balance and metabolic response of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus to different seawater pH and temperatures’

Carbon and oxygen cycles: sensitivity to changes in environmental forcing in a coastal upwelling system

Biogeochemical cycles in the coastal ocean are changing and will continue to change in response to a changing climate. Effects on the oxygen and carbon cycles are particularly important, as either episodic or permanent shifts toward lower oxygen and/or higher inorganic carbon conditions can impact coastal ecosystems negatively. Here we study the sensitivity of these cycles to changes that may occur in the coastal ocean, focusing on a summer wind-driven upwelling region off southern Vancouver Island shelf. We use a quasi 2-D configuration of the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) to perform six sensitivity experiments. Results indicate that carbon and oxygen cycles in this region may be significantly affected by an altered upwelling season, a shallower offshore Oxygen Minimum Zone, and a carbon-enriched environment. Combinations of these scenarios suggest a potentially increasing risk for the development of coastal hypoxia and corrosive conditions in the region.

Continue reading ‘Carbon and oxygen cycles: sensitivity to changes in environmental forcing in a coastal upwelling system’

Post-doc opportunity: Climate modeling and the energy/carbon/climate problem

Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology on the Stanford campus

We use and modify existing physics and biogeochemical models of the Earth (atmosphere, ocean, and land surface), and perform back-of-envelope calculations, to help evaluate and develop innovative solutions to the energy/carbon/climate problem. We also address questions related to basic climate science, energy-systems analysis, and ocean acidification.

We seek to hire several outstanding post-doctoral researchers who can lead research projects involving climate model simulations that contribute to some of these research directions. We are looking to develop an exciting collegial atmosphere with a lot of personal freedom, wherein each group member both leads research projects and collaborates on projects led by others.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book