Archive for the 'Media coverage' Category

What climate change means for Alaskan shellfish farming

Weatherly Bates of Alaska Shellfish Farms shares how she handles climate change and ocean acidification on her farm

Weatherly Bates, her husband Greg and their two children, own and operate Alaska Shellfish Farms, an oyster, mussel and kelp farm near Homer, Alaska. Over the course of a 14-year venture, they’ve seen many changes on the water, and in their surrounding Alaskan landscape. Working on the water, she’s become increasingly concerned about ocean acidification, and how the marine habitat she cherishes so dearly, is changing.

Ocean Conservancy’s Ryan Ono, Ocean Acidification Program Manager, had the opportunity to speak with Weatherly about her farm and the changes she’s seen in our ocean.

Continue reading ‘What climate change means for Alaskan shellfish farming’

Alaska Ocean Acidification Network scientist interview: meet Natalie Monacci

Natalie Monacci is the Deputy Director of the Ocean Acidification Research Center (OARC) at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks where she has been managing all OARC activities since 2010. Natalie took some time to answer some questions about her interests and insights.

Q: What drew you to the study of ocean acidification in Alaska?

As a chemical oceanographer, my specialty has always been the carbon cycle, though in various forms. Really old carbon, new carbon, in the mud, from plants. Now, I focus on carbon in the water. This was new for me when I started working at the Ocean Acidification Research Center (OARC) seven years ago. My interest in OA has persisted because there is still so much to figure out.

Continue reading ‘Alaska Ocean Acidification Network scientist interview: meet Natalie Monacci’

Here’s how climate change affects this ‘living dinosaur’ on B.C.’s coast

Glass sponges in Howe Sound (c) Adam Taylor, MLSS

Glass sponges in Howe Sound. Photo: Adam Taylor/MLSS.

In order to feed, the mammoth sea dwellers pump sea water through their bodies, filtering almost 80 per cent of microbes and particles and expelling clean water.

They might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘dinosaur,’ but B.C.’s glass sponge reefs were thought to be extinct for an astounding 40 million years before they were re-discovered in B.C. in 1986.

But these ancient aquatic creatures face an imminent threat.

According to new research from the University of British Columbia, “warming ocean temperatures and acidification drastically reduce the skeletal strength and filter-feeding capacity of glass sponges.”

Continue reading ‘Here’s how climate change affects this ‘living dinosaur’ on B.C.’s coast’

Tampa Bay bucks global trend toward ocean acidification

It took nearly a year to validate sensors used to monitor pH in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy USGS

For more than 30 years, restoring seagrasses in Tampa Bay has been a primary focus for bay managers. Seagrasses provide critically important habitat for countless creatures, from the manatees that graze upon them to the snook and redfish that shelter in them until they are large enough to avoid predators. They also serve as a “canary” — a sensitive indicator to environmental disturbance — because they only grow in water that is clean enough for sunlight to penetrate to the bay bottom.

And now researchers are documenting another reason to protect seagrasses: They may provide a refuge from ocean acidification that is threatening shellfish, coral reefs and the plankton that are a critical part of the global food web.

Ocean acidification – or OA — occurs when seawater absorbs large quantities of carbon dioxide. Through a complex chemical reaction, the CO2 lowers the water’s pH (increasing its acidity), sometimes to the point where it can dissolve the shells of shellfish and skeletons of corals. At the same time, it also lowers concentrations of biologically important carbon compounds that are used to build shells and coral skeletons.

Continue reading ‘Tampa Bay bucks global trend toward ocean acidification’

How ocean acidification might affect your next meal

Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program, CC BY-NC 2.0
Oyster farm worker hoses down cages of oysters pulled from the Rappahannock River, Virginia. Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program, CC BY-NC 2.0

As patio season approaches, people are anticipating their first meals in the warm sun. Raw oysters, grilled salmon steak, or creamy seafood linguine are just a few of the tasty dishes Toronto restaurants may serve. These examples all featurefish and seafood ingredients that form part of a multi-billion dollar industry in the Canadian economy. But as a consequence of climate change, these organisms are struggling to survive in their changing environment putting Canada’s fishing industry at risk.

Canadian fish and seafood products are sold on the domestic and international markets and harvested in a variety of ways: aquaculture, commercial freshwater and sea fisheries, and recreational fishing. In 2017, Canada generated more than $6.8 billion from the export of fish and seafood. Canada produced enough fish and seafood products in 2018 to provide every Canadian with 8.77 kilograms of food.

Continue reading ‘How ocean acidification might affect your next meal’

In the Chesapeake Bay, saving seagrasses can fight ocean acidification

When scientist Wen Jun Cai and his colleagues boated across the pea-soup-like waters of the upper Chesapeake Bay in the summer of 2016, water sampling kits and pH sensors in hand, they didn’t expect to find chemical magic at play.

The scientists were taking stock of a looming problem facing the 200-mile-long bay: the acidification of its waters, a human-caused phenomenon that threatens the health of the crabs, oysters, and fish iconic to the large estuary.

They started collecting their samples in the recently restored, vibrant underwater grass beds of the Susquehanna Flats near the top of the bay, and motored their way some 60 miles downstream to the deep central channel.

When they rounded up their hundreds of data points and analyzed them, they found evidence of something surprising and encouraging: Gently waving seagrasses in the bay are performing a magnificent chemical trick. As they photosynthesize in the beating sunshine, they produce tiny granules of a carbon-based mineral that acts like a miniature antacid tablet.

Continue reading ‘In the Chesapeake Bay, saving seagrasses can fight ocean acidification’

TAMU-CC researchers study process that controls greenhouse gas beneath the ocean

TAMU-CC Researchers Study Process that Controls Greenhouse Gas Beneath the Ocean

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The bottom of the ocean is a mysterious place that is almost impossible to visit and study, but researchers at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi are helping uncover what’s happening at a place that’s even more difficult to reach – the sediments beneath the bottom of the ocean.

Why worry about what’s happening in such an inaccessible place? The answer involves tiny creatures – microbes – that play an important role in a process that helps to regulate the level of harmful greenhouse gases entering oceans and the atmosphere from a huge hidden reservoir. The cycling of these gases by microbes, plants, and fish contributes to an always-changing but healthy Earth.

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Maine to collect ocean acidification data with new sensors

BOOTHBAY HARBOR (AP) — Maine marine officials said three new sensors installed in a coastal community will help scientists get a better understanding of ocean acidifcation.

The growing acid levels in the ocean are a hazard for some kinds of sea life, including some of those sought by Maine fishermen. Scientists have linked acidification to factors that also drive climate change.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources said it has installed the three sensors in Boothbay Harbor. The department said the sensors will help researchers get a better understanding of how ocean acidification and dissolved oxygen levels can change the health of the state’s marine life and ecosystems.

Marine department scientist Jesica Waller said data from the sensors will also be incorporated into undergraduate programs at the University of Maine and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

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Coastal Rivers to host online talk on coastal acidification in Midcoast May 27

Coastal Rivers volunteers collect water quality data in the Damariscotta River estuary.

Levels of acidification can be different in coastal marine waters than in the open ocean. Inputs from freshwater rivers and nutrient runoff from land can change water chemistry in coastal areas.

Sarah Gladu and Kathleen Thornton will offer an online presentation from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, about the coastal acidification and what data gathered by the Maine Coastal Observing Alliance are documenting in Midcoast Maine. They will also cover what is being done locally to better understand this problem and related water quality issues.

The presentation is free. Registration is required online at

MCOA is a coalition of nonprofits focusing on gathering water quality data along the coast from Harraseeket to Belfast Harbor. Kathleen Thornton is a research specialist at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center. Sarah Gladu chairs MCOA and is director of education and citizen science at Coastal Rivers.

Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust is a nonprofit, nationally accredited land trust with active programs in land conservation, water quality, trails and public access, and nature education in the Damariscotta-Pemaquid region. For more information, email or visit

Continue reading ‘Coastal Rivers to host online talk on coastal acidification in Midcoast May 27’

Acidificación oceánica en organismos marinos (Audio in Spanish)

El cambio climático tiene muchísimas consecuencias a nivel mundial que alteran la dinámica de vida de la flora, la fauna, así como factores bióticos y abióticos. Una consecuencia de este fenómeno es la acidificación de los océanos. En esta edición de En la Academia, conversamos con la doctora Celeste Sánchez Noguera, quien abordará preguntas tales como ¿en qué organismos se enfoca esta investigación? o ¿cuáles son los más resistentes?, entre otras.

En la Academia se transmite los jueves a las 7:00 p.m. por la frecuencia 96.7 FM de Radio Universidad.

Invitada: Dra. Celeste Sánchez Noguera

Continue reading ‘Acidificación oceánica en organismos marinos (Audio in Spanish)’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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