Exploring the interactions and implications between ocean acidification and eutrophication in Budd inlet

Ocean Acidification is one of the greatest symptoms that climate change has inflicted on marine environments. Oceans naturally absorb carbon dioxide, however anthropogenic CO2 has manifested greater adverse influences on marine life, which is stressing our ability to use these resources. Ocean pH has dropped 30% to 8.1 since the industrial age, however the pH reduction along coastlines and within estuaries has deteriorated even more, having a greater need to be monitored. Acidification is worse, especially around the Puget Sound because of high nutrient loads flowing into the Puget Sound from coastal communities, and other human industrial scale activities like agriculture. Nutrients, primarily in the form of nitrogen, increase algae and microbe primary productivity, eventually outputting new CO2 through biological processes, resulting in amplification of the effect greenhouse gases are already exerting on marine ecosystems. This thesis project explored this relationship by looking at water samples collected from five locations in Budd inlet, and were tested for pH, nitrate, alkalinity. These variables were collected with the goal of determining if there was a noticeable difference between sample locations, and if there was a correlation between these variables all in context to the city of Olympia and Capitol Lake having some influence on findings. Results found no clear statistically significant differences between each variables and sample sites, however pH and nitrate concentrations had the greatest correlation. This suggests nutrients are indeed contributing significantly towards furthering acidification, more so than can be determined by CO2 emissions levels alone. More research is warranted on establishing causal relationships between nutrient loads and acidification levels in all Puget Sound inlets.

Continue reading ‘Exploring the interactions and implications between ocean acidification and eutrophication in Budd inlet’

Urgent action called for on ocean acidification (audio)

Forest and Bird have raised some grave prospects for the ocean due to carbon emissions in their report Ocean Acidification – Implications for New Zealand. Chief conservation adviser Kevin Hackwell explains.

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Marine-life suffering from lethal cocktail of acid and cocaine in Spain

NEW RESEARCH, led by Lorena da Silva Souza, a doctoral candidate in marine and coastal management at Spain’s University of Cadiz, shows for the first time that ocean acidification threatens to amplify the aggressive effects of cocaine on marine-life.

Costal life contaminated with cocaine as has been found in Brazil’s coast and the Mediterranean Sea near Greece which has proven toxic to shellfish and other sensitive marine animals. Studies have also focused on rivers of eastern England.

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Evaluating cumulative human impacts on marine ecosystems

As climate change rapidly makes its impact on the world, the existing scientific data monitoring and evaluating what changes are occurring and what impact they have may struggle to keep up.

Due to the sensitive nature of marine ecosystems, the impacts of climate change are far-reaching for marine aquatic life. A fundamental gap in understanding how humanity is affecting the oceans is our limited knowledge about the pace of change in cumulative impacts on ocean ecosystems. What’s more is the need to find out the locations, drivers and patterns of these changes.

Recently, UCSB researchers, including Benjamin Halpern and Melanie Frazier, and a Stanford University researcher, published their paper “Recent pace of change in human impact on the world’s ocean” in Scientific Reports which addressed for the first time the combined impact humans are having on our marine ecosystems.

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Baby oysters can’t build healthy shells in Washington’s acidified waters

Oysters are one of the iconic foods of the Pacific Northwest. But their survival is under serious threat thanks to ocean acidification, sometimes called the “evil twin” of climate change.

Local shellfish growers are seeing the devastating impacts on oysters and other shellfish.

Since 1989, the hatchery at Taylor Shellfish has grown billions and billions of oyster larvae. Like any other farm, it’s had its share of failures — times when large numbers of oysters would die for an unknown reason. But things usually bounced back.

Then, in the 2007-2008 season, those failures became the norm.

“We didn’t have any oyster larvae,” recalled Bill Dewey, the company’s director of public affairs. “Our production was down by about 75 percent.”

Soon, they learned that other growers on the West Coast were having the same problem. Dewey said they knew something serious was going on.

“We had an oyster seed crisis. There was no seed for farms up and down the West Coast for the 2008-2009 time frame,” he said.

At first they thought it was bacteria killing the oysters. But even after thoroughly cleaning their tanks and developing a filter system to remove the bacteria, the oysters continued to die. Around that time, Richard Feely, a scientist at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, contacted the growers with a recent finding.

Continue reading ‘Baby oysters can’t build healthy shells in Washington’s acidified waters’

Ocean acidification and hypoxia alter organic carbon fluxes in marine soft sediments

Anthropogenic stressors can alter the structure and functioning of infaunal communities, which are key drivers of the carbon cycle in marine soft sediments. Nonetheless, the compounded effects of anthropogenic stressors on carbon fluxes in soft benthic systems remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the cumulative effects of ocean acidification (OA) and hypoxia on the organic carbon fate in marine sediments, through a mesocosm experiment. Isotopically labelled macroalgal detritus (13C) was used as a tracer to assess carbon incorporation in faunal tissue and in sediments under different experimental conditions. In addition, labelled macroalgae (13C), previously exposed to elevated CO2, were also used to assess the organic carbon uptake by fauna and sediments, when both sources and consumers were exposed to elevated CO2. At elevated CO2, infauna increased the uptake of carbon, likely as compensatory response to the higher energetic costs faced under adverse environmental conditions. By contrast, there was no increase in carbon uptake by fauna exposed to both stressors in combination, indicating that even a short‐term hypoxic event may weaken the ability of marine invertebrates to withstand elevated CO2 conditions. In addition, both hypoxia and elevated CO2 increased organic carbon burial in the sediment, potentially affecting sediment biogeochemical processes. Since hypoxia and OA are predicted to increase in the face of climate change, our results suggest that local reduction of hypoxic events may mitigate the impacts of global climate change on marine soft‐sediment systems.

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New monitoring site for ocean acidification in American Samoa


ocean acidification

The MAPCO2 buoy depicted in the foreground. Credit: Nerelle Que, National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. (Credit: Derek Manzello, NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, in collaboration with other partners, recently deployed a new ocean acidification (OA) monitoring site in Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, American Samoa. Derek Manzello, a coral ecologist with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Florida, is the lead PI of ACCRETE: the Acidification, Climate and Coral Reef Ecosystems Team at AOML. Dr. Manzello connected with EM about the deployment.

“ACCRETE encompasses multiple projects that all aim to better understand the response of coral reef ecosystems to climate change and/or ocean acidification,” explains Dr. Manzello. “We work to provide information to assist coral reef management and restoration, and this includes better understanding threats like OA.”

Continue reading ‘New monitoring site for ocean acidification in American Samoa’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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