How do microbes respond to more acidic oceans? NSF funds Konstantinidis Study to find out

The National Science Foundation has awarded $366,000 to the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Kostas Konstantinidis for a study illuminating how microbes adapt to oceans that are becoming more acidic as a result of climate change.

As the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, the pH of seawater is dropping, but we still have relatively little understanding of how that affects the micro-organisms that are the backbone of the marine ecosystem.

Konstantinidis, working with colleagues from Duke University, will study how the microbes adapt to the greater acidity as well as other climate-change related streessors, such as high water temperatures. The work will help predict the broader consequences of ocean acidification on other marine life and fisheries as well as find areas that might be more vulnerable to the lower pH.

The researchers plan to turn their findings into learning modules on ocean acidification for K-12 students through and interactive museum display and an app for iPads.

Konstantinidis is the only Georgia Tech recipient in an $11.4 million batch of funding for ocean-acidification research.

Georgia Tech News Centre, 15 September 2014. Article.

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