Archive for March, 2014

Ocean acidification in the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

Ocean acidification is well covered in the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (Climate Change 2014: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability) released today, 31 March 2014. Several experts of ocean acidification were involved as authors or review editors: P. Boyd, P. Brewer, V. J. Fabry, J.-P. Gattuso, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, Y. Nojiri, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Schmidt and C. Turley.

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US Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification – first federal strategic plan released

Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification outlines multi-disciplinary research on impacts

The Ocean Acidification Strategic Research Plan will guide research and monitoring investments that will improve our understanding of ocean acidification, its potential impacts on marine species and ecosystems, and adaptation and mitigationstrategies. The plan was developed by the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification as part of the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2009 (FOARAM Act).

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Ocean Acidification Report – first edition

The first edition of the Ocean Acidification Report has been recently published online by the Global Ocean Health initiative. The report aims to help seafood producers and seafood-dependent businesses and communities adapt to, counter, and survive ocean acidification (OA). It was also designed to serve a wider audience committed to a healthy and productive ocean and seeking science-based solutions. The authors will provide quarterly news briefs, tools, research notes, funding tips, and actionable intelligence on practical measures and policymaking to mitigate, remediate, and adapt to OA.

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How climate change will acidify the oceans

Off the remote eastern tip of Papua New Guinea a natural phenomenon offers an alarming glimpse into the future of the oceans, as increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere make sea water more acidic.

Streams of volcanic CO2 bubbles emerge from deep under the seabed here, like a giant jacuzzi. As the bubbles of carbon dioxide dissolve into the water, carbonic acid is formed. The site hints at the possible fate of the world’s seas as 24 million tonnes of CO2 from industrial society is absorbed every day into the sea. Humans are turning whole oceans more acidic. We’re changing ocean chemistry faster than it’s changed for tens – maybe hundreds – of millions of years.

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Spuren der Vergangenheit (text and video, in German)

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Climate change acidifying tropical Pacific Ocean more than expected — study

The amount of carbon dioxide in the tropical Pacific Ocean has increased surprisingly quickly over the past 14 years, according to new research from scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington.

The reason for the rapid increase in carbon dioxide concentrations is a combination of natural variability and human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, said Adrienne Sutton, a research scientist with NOAA’s Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington.

Although it is difficult to tease out exactly how much of the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations is due to human-caused climate change, “we assume that most of the carbon dioxide increase [in the tropical Pacific] is due to anthropogenic CO2,” Sutton said.

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Effects of elevated CO2 in the early life stages of summer flounder, Paralichthys dentatus, and potential consequences of ocean acidification (update)

The limited available evidence about effects on marine fishes of high CO2 and associated acidification of oceans suggests that effects will differ across species, be subtle, and may interact with other stressors. This report is on the responses of an array of early life history features of summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), an ecologically and economically important flatfish of the inshore and nearshore waters of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (USA), to experimental manipulation of CO2 levels. Relative survival of summer flounder embryos in local ambient conditions (775 μatm pCO2, 7.8 pH) was reduced to 48% when maintained at intermediate experimental conditions (1808 μatm pCO2, 7.5 pH), and to 16% when maintained at the most elevated CO2 treatment (4714 ppm pCO2, 7.1 pH). This pattern of reduced survival of embryos at high-CO2 levels at constant temperature was consistent among offspring of three females used as experimental subjects. No reduction in survival with CO2 was observed for larvae during the first four weeks of larval life (experiment ended at 28 d post-hatching (dph) when larvae were initiating metamorphosis). Estimates of sizes, shapes, and developmental status of larvae based on images of live larvae showed larvae were initially longer and faster growing when reared at intermediate- and high-CO2 levels. This pattern of longer larvae – but with less energy reserves at hatching – was expressed through the first half of the larval period (14 dph). Larvae from the highest-CO2 conditions initiated metamorphosis at earlier ages and smaller sizes than those from intermediate- and ambient-CO2 conditions. Tissue damage was evident in larvae as early as 7 dph from both elevated-CO2 levels. Damage included dilation of liver sinusoids and veins, focal hyperplasia on the epithelium, and separation of the trunk muscle bundles. Cranio-facial features changed with CO2 levels in an age-dependent manner. Skeletal elements of larvae from ambient-CO2 environments were comparable or smaller than those from elevated-CO2 environments when younger (7 and 14 dph) but were larger at developmental stage at older ages (21 to 28 dph), a result consistent with the accelerated size-development trajectory of larvae at higher-CO2 environments based on analysis of external features. The degree of alterations in the survival, growth, and development of early life stages of summer flounder due to elevated-CO2 levels suggests that this species will be increasingly challenged by future ocean acidification. Further experimental studies on marine fishes and comparative analyses among those studies are warranted in order to identify the species, life stages, ecologies, and responses likely to be most sensitive to increased levels of CO2 and acidity in future ocean waters. A strategy is proposed for achieving these goals.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated CO2 in the early life stages of summer flounder, Paralichthys dentatus, and potential consequences of ocean acidification (update)’

Der Ozean – Ein Ökosystem im Wandel (text and video, in German)

Das größte Ökosystem unserer Erde verändert sich. Der aktuelle Klimawandel lässt weltweit nicht nur die Wassertemperatur steigen, er beeinflusst auch die eigentliche Chemie des Meerwassers — mit weitreichenden Folgen für das Leben im Ozean.

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Auf den Spuren der Ozeanversauerung — Eine FS Heincke-Expedition in die Arktis (text and video, in German)

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World Bank film on ocean acidification (video)

A video on ocean acidification was produced within the framework of the World Bank’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on climate change, launch in January 2014. Dr Carol Turley from the Plymouth Marine Laboratories is one of the experts involved in the project. In this video she is talking about the different aspects of ocean acidification and what the scientific community is doing about it.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book