Archive for the 'Media coverage' Category



Ferry system budget cuts jeopardize ocean acidification testing along Inside Passage

The ferry Columbia is tied up at the Ketchikan Shipyard in February, 2012.

The ferry Columbia is tied up at the Ketchikan Shipyard in February, 2012. The ship will be tied up for the rest of 2019, potentially bringing an ocean acifidification monitoring program to a halt. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)

Budget cuts mean several Alaska Marine Highway System vessels will be docked this year. One of them is home to the system that collects data for ocean acidification researchers. But there’s a plan to keep that system running.

When it comes to collecting data, more is better. Especially when the data points are consistent. So the bow of Alaska Marine Highway System’s M/V Columbia is a good location for testing equipment that measures ocean acidification.

Wiley Evans is the oceanographer who runs the program for Hakai Institute in British Columbia.

“It is a unique data set,” he said. “And I can’t think of another one that is so well resolved.”

He calls the Columbia a ship of opportunity. That means it has its designated purpose ⁠— a ferry ⁠— but it does research on the side.

Continue reading ‘Ferry system budget cuts jeopardize ocean acidification testing along Inside Passage’

Washington state and ocean conservancy join Chile in a pre-COP25 ocean acidification knowledge exchange

Santiago, Chile – Delegations from Washington state and Ocean Conservancy are meeting with local shellfish growers, scientists and Chilean government ministers as part of an official pre-COP25 event to discuss the threat of ocean acidification and plan responses for their communities and businesses. The discussion and visits to local shellfish growers and government ministries organized by Ocean Conservancy will provide an opportunity for an exchange of knowledge between growers, scientists, and government officials from Chile on ocean acidification and its impacts.

Shellfish growers from Washington state to Chile feel the harmful impacts of ocean acidification. Acidification hinders the health and growth of shellfish, corals and some fish species. Ocean acidification is a change in seawater chemistry caused by the ocean absorbing carbon emissions, turning it more acidic. Coastal runoff and waste can also increase acidification in coastal waters. This knowledge exchange will provide a space to share experiences and knowledge so that we may collectively address the harmful impacts of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Washington state and ocean conservancy join Chile in a pre-COP25 ocean acidification knowledge exchange’

The “other” global ocean problem: ocean acidification in New England

Atlantic sea scallops. Scallops are one New England species impacted by ocean acidification. Image via NOAA Fisheries.

As a (bad) joke, marine scientists have called ocean acidification the “other” global ocean problem, “The Other CO2 Problem,” or even climate change’s evil twin.

Don’t be fooled by this playful language though. Ocean acidification (OA) poses very serious biological and economic threats to marine ecosystems around the world. Unfortunately, compared to sea surface warming and sea level rise, OA has historically gone “under the radar” and until recently, most climate models underestimated the rate and severity of OA. In this blog, we explain the science behind this pervasive ocean problem and why it’s a challenge for New England’s waters.

Continue reading ‘The “other” global ocean problem: ocean acidification in New England’

Climate change could spell end for paua

New Zealand’s most famous shellfish, the paua, is under threat with climate change.

Scientists at the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research and the University of Otago say increased seawater temperatures and ocean acidification resulting in lower pH levels will affect the thickness of paua shells, possibly making them less resistant to waves and predators.

By growing young paua in seawater with different combinations of temperatures and pH levels, they found while paua grew well in warmer water and lowered pH, the outer layer of their shell gets etched by seawater.

Professor Abby Smith from the University of Otago’s Department of Marine Science says while all shellfish are at risk from marine climate change, paua are unusual because the shell is also a valuable part of the harvest, not just the flesh.

Continue reading ‘Climate change could spell end for paua’

Seroy presents research on phenotypic plasticity in changing ocean

On Friday, September 27, Sasha Seroy spoke in front of a mixed crowd of both students and professionals in her seminar on “Phenotypic Plasticity in a Changing Ocean: Integrating Effects from Organisms to Populations.” Seroy is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington and part of a research team at Friday Harbor Labs, where she explores the effects of climate change on marine species.

Her research specifically focuses on the phenotypic plasticity of organisms, which describes the ability of one genotype to express more than one phenotype based on the environment in which a species resides. This can include changes in the phenotype based on competition between both members of its own species and other species, as well as an increased temperature in ocean water and pH.
Seroy’s interest in phenotypic plasticity and marine invertebrates was sparked while doing undergraduate research at Stone Brook University. “I got hooked on the idea and continued to study it in other animal groups in graduate school,” she explains.

Continue reading ‘Seroy presents research on phenotypic plasticity in changing ocean’

Washington Ocean Acidification Center coordinates research and policymaking for the urgent ocean issues

Human activities that emit carbon dioxide produce two consequences: warming in the atmosphere and acidification in the ocean.
Ocean acidification, known as the evil twin of climate change, has been receiving global attention in recent years because of its heavy impact on marine life and the shellfish industry.

To study ocean acidification and better monitor seawater, the Washington Ocean Acidification Center was funded and established by the state Legislature at the University of Washington. Led by UW scientists Terrie Klinger and Jan Newton, the center coordinates research, returns research findings to policymakers, and makes such information available to the general public.

Continue reading ‘Washington Ocean Acidification Center coordinates research and policymaking for the urgent ocean issues’

Shellfish growers fight to keep species thriving amid rising acid levels in Puget Sound (video)

Growers at Taylor Shellfish farms in Jefferson County are working to keep shellfish alive, by testing water for acid levels and growing algae for them to eat.

Rising acid levels in Puget Sound due to climate change are threatening the Northwest’s shellfish population, but one shellfish farmer in Washington state is working to change that.

The Taylor Shellfish nursery in the Jefferson County town of Quilcene is where countless baby shellfish are born and raised.

Continue reading ‘Shellfish growers fight to keep species thriving amid rising acid levels in Puget Sound (video)’


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