Archive for the 'Media coverage' Category

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.

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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.”

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Increasing acidity could have a significant impact on ocean ecosystems – report

The levels of acidity in the ocean could increase by 116 percent if carbon emissions aren’t drastically reduced, according to a new report.

The report, released by Forest and Bird, showed increased levels of acidity could have a significant impact on the oceans’ ecosystems.

Worldwide, oceans absorb 93 percent of the heat in the atmosphere and a third of all CO2 emissions.

When CO2 is absorbed by the ocean, it creates carbonic acid, causing levels of acidity in the oceans to rise.

Levels of acidity have already risen by 26 percent since pre-industrial times.

The consequence of rising acidity is a decline in calcium carbonate, which is necessary for shellfish, corals and other organisms to form their structures.

Head of the Marine Science Department at the University of Otago, professor Abby Smith, said: “What starts to happen is you have whole ecosystems that are feeling effects of acidification.

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NZ leader in ocean research

New Zealand is playing an important leadership role within the Commonwealth in helping counter ocean acidification, Prof Cliff Law says.

He is a Wellington-based principal scientist, marine biogeochemistry, and leads the Ocean-Climate Interaction Group at Niwa.

He yesterday gave a public talk on ”The Oceans and Climate Change” at the Otago Museum and said public awareness of climate change was ”greatly increasing”.

Prof Law, who also teaches at the University of Otago, said New Zealand was a world leader in ocean acidification research.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book