Archive for August, 2015

Marine ecosystems and climate change: economic issues

Marine ecosystems, and the services they provide, are predicted to alter considerably as a result of climate change. This paper outlines important expected alterations in these ecosystems, considers their economic consequences, and examines economic policies that may be adopted in response to these changes. In doing so, it focuses on two main cases, namely findings about the impact of ocean acidification (and climate change generally) on the Norwegian fisheries and predictions about alterations in coral reef systems. A number of theoretical issues are raised. These include the possibility that if economic impact analysis is used to measure economic value, the global economic value of coral reefs could rise as their area is reduced. This, however, is not necessarily an appropriate measure of economic value, even though it is often used for this purpose. Also the importance of taking into account the opportunity costs involved in conserving marine ecosystems is stressed. Furthermore, several dynamic aspects of variations in marine ecosystems are shown to be important for valuation purposes as well as for economic policy. Both the economics of mitigation and adjustment policies are discussed. Optimal economic policies for responding to climate change are shown to be sensitive to the dynamics of ecosystem change and are likely to vary regionally.

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4th edition of the “Ocean Acidification Report”

Global Ocean Health (GOH) has recently released the fourth edition of its “Ocean Acidification Report”.

Some of the topics covered include the BC shellfish crisis, new strides in protecting king crab from OA vulnerability, and a look at the risk to geoduck (along with a lot more).

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Oyster industry more convinced of ocean acidification impacts than public

Although some people in the general public remain skeptical about the impacts of ocean acidification, a growing number of professionals who make their living off the ocean have become believers.

A newly published survey found that more than 80 percent of respondents from the United States shellfish industry on the West Coast are convinced that acidification is having consequences – a figure more than four times higher than that of public perception, researchers say. About half of the people in the industry report having already experienced some impact from acidification.

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Ocean acidification

Most of us are familiar with the carbon cycle, which is good because we depend on it for life. To put it simply, animals exhale carbon dioxide, and decomposing animals release carbon, while plants take in CO₂ during photosynthesis. The carbon cycle does require that some CO₂ be released into the atmosphere, but currently, anthropogenic (human-generated) activities are taking care of this to the extreme. Many are aware of carbon dioxide’s contributions to global warming and the changes it is bringing to the sea levels, droughts, and seasonal storms, but few follow and understand the full effect of global warming through the whole carbon cycle- which often ends up in the ocean.

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The 411: Ocean acidification

We’re breaking down what ocean acidification is and how it’s impacting us.

What is ocean acidification?
Ocean acidification is when carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater and results in various chemical reactions. These chemical reactions affect seawater such as reducing the pH level, carbonating ion concentration, and the saturation state of important calcium carbonate minerals. All of these reactions are termed “ocean acidification” or “OA” for short.

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Ocean acidification combatted by Canadian google science fair finalist

Isabella O’Brien wants to help solve the problem of ocean acidification. O’Brien is one of the twenty Global Finalists in the 2015 Google Science Fair, with winners to be announced on September 21, 2015. Her inspiration came after a diving trip in Mexico where she saw large amounts of dead coral and wanted to find a way to stop the destruction of the marine environment.

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Invitation to abstract submission : 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting, 21-26 February 2016, New Orleans

David Hutchins, Philip Boyd, Ulf Riebesell, and Jean-Pierre Gattuso would like to invite the ocean global change research community to submit an abstract to their session at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting, 21-26 February 2016, New Orleans. The session (abstract below) will focus on the effects of multiple environmental change drivers, including ocean acidification, on marine organisms at all trophic levels, including research employing experiments, modeling, and observations. The abstract deadline is coming up soon on September 23rd (

They are aiming to see the best new research in this fast-moving field presented at this session and look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!

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Local leaders, scientists and fishermen gather in Homer to discuss ocean acidification

FishermanInteractive ocean acidification kiosk opens in Homer.

The Alaska Marine Conservation Council and Cook Inletkeeper met with a group of local leaders, scientists and fishermen in Homer on Monday to share information on ocean acidification. The group of organizations and individuals convened for the debut of a new touch-screen kiosk, an educational tool for fostering a dialogue within coastal communities about the causes and effects of ocean acidification, as well as potential responses.

“This might be the most important issue facing coastal communities right now. In fact I would say it is the most important issue. Ocean acidification affects everything that’s in the ocean. Everything that we depend on for livelihood and lifestyle and pleasure,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Member Mako Haggerty.

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Oyster growers fret about ocean acidification, Oregon State University study shows

Photo credit: Oregon State University

Photo credit: Oregon State University

Just like there are no atheists in fox holes, you’d be hard pressed to find many northwest oyster growers disbelieving in climate change — and the related ocean acidification, according to an Oregon State University study.

Three quarters of oyster growers surveyed said they were either “extremely” or “very” concerned about ocean acidification, according to the study published this week in Journal of Shellfish Research. Only 1 percent said they were “not at all concerned” about the process that turns seawater corrosive to shellfish.

“We got in big trouble with that” in the mid-2000s said Oregon grower Lilli Clausen. “We bought two years worth of larvae that didn’t make it after we paid for it.” One section of Clausen’s 635 acres of leased oyster flats in Coos Bay produced 50 baskets where there should have been 500, Clausen said. “Those were really difficult years to get over,” she said. “This is beginning to be our first normal year.”

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Perception and response of the U.S. West Coast shellfish industry to ocean acidification: the voice of the canaries in the coal mine

In the mid-2000s the U.S. west coast oyster industry experienced several years of significant production failures. This industry has been referred to as the “canary in a coal mine” for ocean acidification (OA). Industry-led collaboration with university and government scientists identified a relationship between elevated carbon dioxide in seawater and poor oyster seed production. This multiyear production slow-down resulted in significant economic losses to the industry and spurred state and regionally led initiatives to examine the current and potential future impacts of OA. To examine the perceptions and understanding of OA by the U.S. west coast shellfish industry, a regional survey of the industry was conducted, covering oyster, mussel, clam, geoduck, and abalone producers. The web-based survey addressed four general areas: experience, understanding, concern, and adaptability. There were 86 total respondents from industry, resulting in a response rate of 46% with 96% of respondents answering all 44 questions. Seventy percent of respondents were owners or managers of a shellfish business. Findings from the survey indicate that approximately half of the industry had personally experienced a negative impact from OA. This personal experience generally led to a higher level of concern about OA; however, self-reported level of understanding of OA resulted in slightly less concordance with the level of concern. Greater than 80% of the shellfish industry noted that OA will have consequences today, approximately four times higher than the U.S. public’s perception of the threat. Finally, greater than 50% of the industry felt that they would be able to somewhat or definitely adapt to OA.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book