Archive for September, 2014

Reminder: Scientists, contribute to the OA-ICC data compilation on the biological response to ocean acidification!

Numerous papers report the effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms and communities, but it has been difficult to compare the results since the carbonate chemistry and ancillary data are often reported in different units and scales, and calculated using different sets of constants.

In response to this problem, a data compilation on the biological response to ocean acidification initiated by the EU projects EUR-OCEANS and EPOCA has been resumed in the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) project “Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC)”. 65 data sets have been archived in the past 3 months, bringing the total number of data sets to 520. These data are open-access at Pangaea (http://www.iaea.org/ocean-acidification/page.php?page=2205). Relevant data already archived at BCO-DMO, BODC and AAD are also included in this data compilation with links to original data sets and projects.

If you are a scientist publishing on the biological response to ocean acidification, you will likely be contacted in the future. The OA-ICC thanks you in advance for sharing your data, it is a great way to get more cited!

Continue reading ‘Reminder: Scientists, contribute to the OA-ICC data compilation on the biological response to ocean acidification!’

Presentations on ocean acidification at the Climate Engineering Conference 2014 (video)

Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany – minute 13

Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Laboratoire d’Océanographie, CNRS / Université Pierre et Marie Curie – minute 28

Continue reading ‘Presentations on ocean acidification at the Climate Engineering Conference 2014 (video)’

Now available in German: Ocean Acidification Summary for Policymakers

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 10.10.25 AMThis summary for policymakers reports on the state of scientific knowledge on ocean acidification, based on the latest research presented at The Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, held in Monterey, California, in September 2012. Experts present the projected changes from ocean acidification for ecosystems and the people who rely on them, according to levels of confidence for these outcomes. Produced by IGBP, SCOR and IOC-UNESCO in 2013. Translated by BIOACID. More information.

New developments in ocean acidification research

BIOACID annual meeting 2014 in Kiel

September 12, 2014/Kiel. Five years after their first “kick-off” at GEOMAR, the members of the German research network on ocean acidification BIOACID gathered again in Kiel. In addition to providing an overview of ongoing activities, presenting research highlights of recent developments, and planning upcoming work, a new brochure in German language was launched at the annual meeting 2014.

Five years after its start, the German research network on ocean acidification BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) has acquired a broad range of knowledge on biological mechanisms, organism responses, community and ecosystem effects and economic impacts. But the exchange at the annual meeting 2014 at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel also revealed some critical knowledge gaps: In laboratory experiments, a common phytoplankton species was able to adapt to ocean acidification, even when simultaneously exposed to other stress factors such as rising water temperatures – but will the adapted strains also successfully compete in their natural environment? In a field experiment, some tiny phytoplankton species benefitted from extra carbon dioxide in the water, while many calcifying organisms appeared to suffer. How does the boom or bust of some groups affect the food web? How do these changes impact the biogeochemical cycles in the oceans? Is it possible to quantify economic consequences of ocean acidification?

Continue reading ‘New developments in ocean acidification research’

Increasing ocean acidification threatens Alaska’s valuable commercial and subsistence fisheries

Ocean acidification, the process by which ocean water acidifies as it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, is changing ocean waters vital to Alaska’s fisheries—an industry that supports more than 100,000 jobs and generates more than $5 billion in annual revenue. According to a new study published in Progress in Oceanography, many of Alaska’s economically and nutritionally valuable marine fisheries are expected to face significant stress as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to climb.

The maps on the right show the risk that ocean acidification poses to Alaska’s fishing industries. The risk index (orange tones) takes into account the hazard of ocean acidification itself—which waters are experiencing acidification and how that is expected to change—how exposed the fisheries are to the hazard, and how vulnerable the area’s human populations are to disruptions to their way of life.

Continue reading ‘Increasing ocean acidification threatens Alaska’s valuable commercial and subsistence fisheries’

Is ocean acidification affecting squid? (video)

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.46.01 AM Continue reading ‘Is ocean acidification affecting squid? (video)’

Rising ocean acidity ‘a major threat’, Dal scientist says

An ocean made of acid that corrodes the shells of sea life seems like an image out of science fiction. Sadly, it’s becoming just science.

The acidity of the world’s oceans is increasing at an unprecedented pace and is projected to continue, parliamentarians and guests were told at an event in Ottawa Thursday.

Projecting acidification itself is actually a simple chemical equation, said Dalhousie professor emeritus of oceanography John Cullen. As the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rise, the pH balance of the ocean drops to keep a C02 equilibrium. That increases acidity.

It’s what will happen to all of the things in the ocean that is the big mystery. “We don’t know exactly what the effects will be, but these chemical changes are very, very big,” said Cullen in an interview.

Continue reading ‘Rising ocean acidity ‘a major threat’, Dal scientist says’

Ocean acidification hits young sea stars hardest

Ocean acidification hits young sea stars the hardest compared to their adult counterparts, according to a new study.

Young members of a species are sensitive as it is to environmental stresses compared to their parents, so with juvenile marine life now combating ocean acidification as well, it’s taking its toll. That goes for the sea star Asterias rubens from the Baltic Sea, scientists from GEOMAR (Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel) have shown.

Described in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, researchers simulated three different levels of acidification that could be reached in the Baltic Sea by the uptake of additional carbon dioxide (CO2) within the coming decades. The findings showed that even at slightly increased acidification, the small sea stars grew more slowly and ate less.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification hits young sea stars hardest’

Ocean acidificatuon: crumbling the shells of the sea

Photo by R. Murphy

Photo by R. Murphy

If there is one thing we know from the history of life on Earth – it is that the oceans are resilient and relentless. Nearly 4 billion years ago the first raindrops fell from our cooling planet, accumulating in low basins and forming the first oceans to exist. It is from these oceans that the first forms of life emerged, and then continued to grow, expand, and evolve. In 4 billion years, they endured centuries of change, differing compositions of gaseous atmospheres, and yet they still held the capacity to support the evolution of life – a process that created the most complex and conscious being to stand upright and walk this planet – the oceans gave rise to us.

Just as life has changed in the past, the planet continues to change today. Yet there is vastly marketed difference. No longer is the ocean changing on the scales of geological time – tens of millions of years – the ocean is changing at a rate faster than its ever seen and has a singular human cause: our rapid increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Unfortunately, these rising levels of carbon dioxide alter more than just the temperature of the planet, shifting our climate in ways that scientists call climate change, but it also changes the chemistry of the ocean in a process known as ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidificatuon: crumbling the shells of the sea’

Suffering shellfish: ocean acidification may lead to a decline in the shellfish population

When conversation turns to Long Island’s coastal waters, Stony Brook University professor Christopher Gobler is quite familiar with the area and the organisms that live in it.

A Port Jefferson native who grew up going to Long Island’s beaches and fishing and sailing in Long Island’s coastal waters, Gobler works in Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Although he is based out of the Southampton campus, Gobler divides his time traveling between Southampton and the main campus, teaching a few classes on both. In addition, he also conducts research on both campuses. Some of his most recent research involves ocean acidification and the effects it has on shellfish.

The ocean typically has a pH of 8.0, which is a slightly basic pH, Gobler said. (On the pH scale, a pH of 7 means neutral, with anything below 7 being acidic, and anything above 7 being basic.) However, even the slightest decrease in pH can affect oceanic organisms. “Negative effects can start at and below 7.7 for some species,”  Gobler said in an email.

Continue reading ‘Suffering shellfish: ocean acidification may lead to a decline in the shellfish population’


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