Archive for July, 2013

Dissolution – Disillusion

The Simon Mace Gallery welcomes NW sculptor, David Eisenhour, for the month of August.

Eisenhour’s elegant sculptures emerge into bronze, elevating the microscopic pteropod, while echoing the universal spiral. Each pteropod in the series exhibits progressive signs of degradation. An evolutionary tale is spun, an omen of portent for Planet Earth.

This series is informed by David’s study of ocean acidification and the effects on the flora and fauna. Relatively new research shows increased levels of carbon dioxide has been absorbed by the oceans, gradually altering the pH balance and disrupting the life cycles of shell-forming marine animals. Proven to inhibit shell development, higher acidity threatens many species, especially those closer to the surface.

Continue reading ‘Dissolution – Disillusion’

Research opportunity: Impacts of coastal acidification on the ecological health of shellfish in Southern New England

Research Participation Program

Office of Research and Development
National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Narragansett, RI

EPA-ORD/NHEERL-AED-2013-03

Project Description:

A postgraduate research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL), Atlantic Ecology Division (AED) in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

Research at AED focuses on ecological effects of human activities on coastal waters and watersheds of the Atlantic seaboard, with particular emphasis on effects of these activities on populations of fish, shellfish, and aquatic-dependent wildlife. This project will investigate relationships between coastal acidification, nutrient enrichment and the settlement and survival of larval shellfish.

Continue reading ‘Research opportunity: Impacts of coastal acidification on the ecological health of shellfish in Southern New England’

Ocean acidification session at the 22nd Biennial Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF 2013)

6 November 2013: “Acidification impacts on estuaries”

Plenary Session
Richard A. Feeley Ph.D., NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Sam Dupont Ph.D., University of Gothenburg
Alan Barton, Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery
Jay Manning J.D., Cascadia Law Group

Convened by: Jan Newton (newton(at)ocean.washington.edu), Libby Jewett (libby.jewett(at)noaa.gov), and 
Karen McLaughlin (karenm(at)sccwrp.org)

This symposium will have plenary speakers set the stage of the science, economic impacts, and management responses of ocean acidification in estuaries. The plenary will be followed up by special sessions that will include both invited and contributed talks. The symposium will also include a workshop led by the Alliance of Coastal Technologies on making acidification measurements, and on sensor technologies. This symposium will offer new insights relating to ocean acidification as the focus is on acidification in estuaries and in other freshwater-influenced waters, rather than on the open sea. Moreover, it will highlight an increasingly recognized topic, and one that is of increasing urgency, as witnessed by the attention given to the Washington State Governor who established a Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification in Washington’s coastal and inland waters.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification session at the 22nd Biennial Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF 2013)’

Scientists embark on West Coast ocean acidification mission

SEATTLE — On Monday scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will begin a one-month U.S. West Coast expedition to investigate ocean acidification, an issue that poses a serious threat to the Pacific Northwest’s shellfish industry.

“We will for the first time not only study the chemistry of acidification, but also study the biological impacts on the marine ecosystems in the open ocean,” says Richard A. Feely, a scientist from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Research Laboratory in Seattle. Feely is co-chief of the mission.

Continue reading ‘Scientists embark on West Coast ocean acidification mission’

Future habitat suitability for coral reef ecosystems under global warming and ocean acidification

Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are placing spatially divergent stresses on the world’s tropical coral reefs through increasing ocean surface temperatures and ocean acidification. We show how these two stressors combine to alter the global habitat suitability for shallow coral reef ecosystems, using statistical Bioclimatic Envelope Models rather than basing projections on any a priori assumptions of physiological tolerances or fixed thresholds. We apply two different modeling approaches (Maximum Entropy and Boosted Regression Trees) with two levels of complexity (one of them a simplified and reduced environmental variable version of the other). Our models project a marked temperature-driven decline in habitat suitability for many of the most significant and bio-diverse tropical coral regions, particularly in the central Indo-Pacific. This is accompanied by a temperature-driven poleward range expansion of favorable conditions accelerating up to 40-70 km per decade by 2070. We find that ocean acidification is less influential for determining future habitat suitability than warming, and its deleterious effects are centered evenly in both hemispheres between 5-20° latitude. Contrary to expectations, the combined impact of ocean surface temperature rise and acidification leads to little, if any, degradation in future habitat suitability across much of the Atlantic and areas currently considered ‘marginal’ for tropical corals, such as the eastern Equatorial Pacific. These results are consistent with fossil evidence of range expansions during past warm periods. In addition, the simplified models are particularly sensitive to short-term temperature variations and their projections correlate well with reported locations of bleaching events. Our approach offers new insights into the relative impact of two global environmental pressures associated with rising atmospheric CO2 on potential future habitats, but greater understanding of past and current controls on coral reef ecosystems is essential to their conservation and management under a changing climate.

Continue reading ‘Future habitat suitability for coral reef ecosystems under global warming and ocean acidification’

Effects of elevated pCO2 on reproductive properties of the benthic copepod Tigriopus japonicus and gastropod Babylonia japonica

We investigated the effects of elevated pCO2 in seawater both on the acute mortality and the reproductive properties of the benthic copepod Tigriopus japonicus and gastropod Babylonia japonica with the purpose of accumulating basic data for assessing potential environmental impacts of sub-sea geological storage of anthropogenic CO2 in Japan. Acute tests showed that nauplii of T. japonicus have a high tolerance to elevated pCO2 environments. Full life cycle tests on T. japonicus indicated NOEC = 5800 μatm and LOEC = 37,000 μatm. Adult B. japonica showed remarkable resistance to elevated pCO2 in the acute tests. Embryonic development of B. japonica showed a NOEC = 1500 μatm and LOEC = 5400 μatm. T. japonicus showed high resistance to elevated pCO2 throughout the life cycle and B. japonica are rather sensitive during the veliger stage when they started to form their shells.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated pCO2 on reproductive properties of the benthic copepod Tigriopus japonicus and gastropod Babylonia japonica’

Occurrence of nitrogen fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium under elevated pCO2 conditions in the Western bay of Bengal

Recent studies on the diazotrophic cyanobacterium Trichodesmium showed that increasing CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) enhances N2 fixation and growth. We studied the in situ and satellite-derived environmental parameters within and outside a Trichodesmium bloom in the western coastal Bay of Bengal (BoB) during the spring intermonsoon 2009. Here we show that the single most important nitrogen fixer in today’s ocean, Trichodesmium erythraeum, is strongly abundant in high (≥300 μatm) pCO2 concentrations. N : P ratios almost doubled (~10) at high pCO2 region. This could enhance the productivity of N-limited BoB and increase the biological carbon sequestration. We also report presence of an oxygen minimum zone at Thamnapatnam. Earlier studies have been carried out using lab cultures, showing the increase in growth rate of T. erythraeum under elevated pCO2 conditions, but to our knowledge, this study is the first to report that in natural environment also T. erythraeum prefers blooming in high pCO2 concentrations. The observed CO2 sensitivity of T. erythraeum could thereby provide a strong negative feedback to rising atmospheric CO2 but would also drive towards phosphorus limitation in a future high CO2 world.

Continue reading ‘Occurrence of nitrogen fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium under elevated pCO2 conditions in the Western bay of Bengal’

Behavioural responses of Crangon crangon (Crustacea, Decapoda) to reduced seawater pH following simulated leakage from sub-sea geological storage

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) in sub-sea geological formations is being developed and promoted to mitigate CO2 discharges to the atmosphere from point sources such as power stations. There remain some questions on the risks associated with the possible loss of gas from storage and the environmental harm this could pose to marine organisms associated with the sea bed in these regions. This study investigated the effect of exposing the common shrimp (Crangon crangon) to reduced pH conditions and presents the results of stepwise pH-reductions (0.2 pH units from pH 7 down to pH 6). Behaviour was monitored continuously throughout 8 hours of exposure. In three subsequent experiments we could show a consistent and repeatable behavioural response pattern consisting of immediate avoidance reactions expressed as “shooting behaviour” following each pH-reduction every hour. The animals responded in a rapid manner to the shifts at all pH values, suggesting that these animals are sensitive to even relatively small changes. The results indicate that repeated acute pH-stress caused by CO2-leakage from carbon storage sites might affect the behaviour and subsequent fitness of natural populations of common shrimps. Changes in behaviour are likely to lead to increased predation on these animals and migration away from affected areas.

Continue reading ‘Behavioural responses of Crangon crangon (Crustacea, Decapoda) to reduced seawater pH following simulated leakage from sub-sea geological storage’

Oceans and marine resources in a changing climate: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment

Prepared for the 2013 National Climate Assessment and a landmark study in terms of its breadth and depth of coverage, Oceans and Marine Resources in a Changing Climate is the result of a collaboration among numerous local, state, federal, and nongovernmental agencies to develop a comprehensive, state of the art look at the effects of climate change on the oceans and marine ecosystems under U.S. jurisdiction.

Continue reading ‘Oceans and marine resources in a changing climate: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment’

Near-future reductions in pH will have no consistent ecological effects on the early life-history stages of reef corals

Until recently, research into the consequences of oceanic uptake of CO2 for corals focused on its effect on physiological processes, in particular, calcification. However, events early in the life history of corals are also likely to be vulnerable to changes in ocean chemistry caused by increases in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 (ocean acidification). We tested the effect of reduced pH on embryonic development, larval survivorship and metamorphosis of 3 common scleractinian corals from the Great Barrier Reef. We used 4 treatment levels of pH, corresponding to the current level of ocean pH and 3 values projected to occur later this century. None of the early life-history stages we studied were consistently affected by reduced pH. Our results suggest that there will be no direct ecological effects of ocean acidification on the early life-history stages of reef corals, at least in the near future.

Continue reading ‘Near-future reductions in pH will have no consistent ecological effects on the early life-history stages of reef corals’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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