Aquarium of the Pacific forum produces new report to guide ocean exploration

LONG BEACH Marine explorers and scientists who gathered this past summer at Aquarium of the Pacific published a report Wednesday outlining imperatives to explore polar waters, to study ocean acidification and to develop a national policy to guide ocean exploration.

“A strong commitment to ocean exploration and research is an opportunity, an urgent necessity, and an issue of national security,” the report states. “Every ocean exploration expedition yields new data and information, often new species, and sometimes entirely new ecosystems.”

The report is the outcome of the Ocean Exploration 2020 Conference that took place in July at the Aquarium of the Pacific. More than 110 experts attended the meeting.

The ocean experts’ report also called for further study of ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is mostly the result of carbon dioxide emissions being absorbed into the ocean and altering its pH balance. The result, according to a NOAA report, is a more acidic environment that can be harmful to organisms such as shellfish and coral.

Damage to coral reefs, Schubel said, could lead to reduced biodiversity and harm to fish populations, which could in turn lead to negative outcomes for the fishing trade or nations where coral reefs attract tourists.

“We know that we are changing the ocean more rapidly, and in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible a decade ago,” Schubel said.

Andrew Edwards, Press-Telegram, 25 September 2013. Article.

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