Archive for the 'Press releases' Category

Marine snails know how to budget their housing costs

For nearly 50 years, researchers have been stumped as to why sea shells from warm tropical waters are comparatively larger than their cold water relatives. New research, led by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University in Australia with researchers at British Antarctic Survey, suggests that it all comes down to ‘housing cost.’

Using an impressive data set spanning over 16,000 km, with sampling locations from the chilly Arctic waters off Svalbard, Norway to the balmy seas off Singapore, researchers found that sea snails and other calcifying marine molluscs, are frugal investors in their cost of housing and use less than 10% of their energy for shell growth.

Continue reading ‘Marine snails know how to budget their housing costs’

House includes Bonamici’s ocean research provisions in funding plan (text and video)

WASHINGTON, DC [09/12/17] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), co-chair of the bipartisan Oceans Caucus, announced that her provisions to increase funding for research and monitoring of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and ocean acidification were included in the House bill to set funding levels for Fiscal Year 2018.

The House accepted Bonamici’s two amendments to the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill. One amendment increases funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Ocean Service to do coastal monitoring and assessment of harmful algal blooms, which can lead to toxins that shut down shellfish harvests. The other amendment increases funding for NOAA’s ocean acidification program to help coastal communities respond to and better understand changing ocean conditions and how they affect fisheries and ocean health.

Continue reading ‘House includes Bonamici’s ocean research provisions in funding plan (text and video)’

New research delivers hope for reef fish living in a high CO2 world

Credit: Alejandro Usobiaga

New research examining the possible impacts of ocean acidification provides fresh hope for the survival of reef fish


Just as when a camera lens comes into focus, the latest research published today sharpens understanding of the implications of ocean acidification on reef fish behaviour, yielding promising results for their current and near-future survival.

Chemical changes in the ocean, as a result of climate change, are leading to a more acidic environment, referred to as ‘ocean acidification’ (OA). In a laboratory setting, these changes have been shown to lead to a range of risky behaviours in the affected fish, with some fish unable to flee from their finned foes effectively.

Continue reading ‘New research delivers hope for reef fish living in a high CO2 world’

Acid zone in Chesapeake Bay identified

A research team, led by University of Delaware professor Wei-Jun Cai, has identified a zone of water that is increasing in acidity in the Chesapeake Bay.

The team analyzed little studied factors that play a role in ocean acidification (OA)—changes in water chemistry that threaten the ability of shellfish such as oysters, clams and scallops to create and maintain their shells, among other impacts.

The U.S. Geological Survey defines pH as “a measure of how acidic or basic water is.” The pH scale ranges from 0-14, with 7 considered neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic, while a pH greater than 7 is alkaline (basic). Battery acid, for example, might have a pH of 1, while Milk of Magnesia might have a pH of 10.

Changes in pH can tell scientists something about how the water chemistry is changing.

In their research, Cai and his colleagues discovered a “pH minimum zone” that occurs at a depth of approximately 10-15 meters (~30-50 feet) in the Chesapeake Bay. The pH in this zone is roughly 7.4, nearly 10 times higher in acidity (or a unit lower in pH) than what is found in surface waters, which have an average pH of 8.2.

“This study shows for the first time that the oxidation of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia from the bottom waters could be a major contributor to lower pH in coastal oceans and may lead to more rapid acidification in coastal waters compared to the open ocean,” said Cai, the paper’s lead author and an expert in marine chemistry and carbon’s movement through coastal waters.

Continue reading ‘Acid zone in Chesapeake Bay identified’

The spirit of collaboration aboard Gulf of Mexico cruise

This summer, NOAA and partner scientists will conduct their most collaborative ocean acidification sampling of the Gulf of Mexico yet. Set to depart today, July 18th, the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cruise (GOMECC-3) will travel through international waters with 24 scientists from the United States, Mexico and Cuba on board.

This comprehensive month-long effort is driven by the growing collaboration within the ocean acidification science community and the multitude of communities that rely on the changing Gulf. The cruise will be the first all inclusive research cruise to document ocean acidification impacts to US living marine resources in the Gulf of Mexico, which is called for under the Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act of 2009 (FOARAM).

Continue reading ‘The spirit of collaboration aboard Gulf of Mexico cruise’

Team deciphers secrets of undersea chemical reaction; can it reduce CO2 in the atmosphere?

Scientists speed up a natural process that occurs deep in the ocean, raising the possibility that humans could help the Earth cope with greenhouse gases

Scientists at USC and Caltech have accelerated a normally slow, natural chemical reaction by a factor of 500, which could store and neutralize carbon in the deepest recesses of the ocean without harming coral or other organisms.

For the first time ever, the USC-Caltech team was able to measure very precisely the reaction rate of calcite, a form of calcium carbonate, as it dissolved in seawater enhanced by a common enzyme, carbonic anhydrase. That’s the same enzyme that maintains the acid-base balance in the blood and tissue of humans and other animals.

Continue reading ‘Team deciphers secrets of undersea chemical reaction; can it reduce CO2 in the atmosphere?’

New model reveals how ocean acidification challenges tiny sea snails off U.S. West Coast

A tiny sea snail, sometimes called a sea butterfly because of how it flutters about traveling the ocean currents, is part of the diet for such valuable fish as salmon and cod off the U.S West Coast.

A new study models the journey of this delicate plankton from offshore to nearshore waters, describing how changing ocean chemistry along this journey affects their condition.

Continue reading ‘New model reveals how ocean acidification challenges tiny sea snails off U.S. West Coast’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book