Archive for the 'Press releases' Category

Breaking the (seafood) chain

Newswise: Breaking the (SeaFood) Chain

Credit: California State University

If you want to understand what happens when seawater becomes more acidic, ask an oyster farmer.

Newswise — Specifically, talk to one in the Pacific Northwest. Researchers still aren’t sure how ocean acidification (OA) affects ocean water exactly, but oyster larvae in Washington State are already dying by the billions. Over the next 50 years, OA is predicted to reduce U.S. shellfish harvests by 25 percent.

Our northern neighbors are likely a harbinger of what’s to come for California.

Due to wind-driven “upwelling” along California’s coast—in which deeper water rich in carbon dioxide (CO2) is brought to the surface, which increases the rate of acidification—our oceans may be in danger of becoming acidified well before those in other parts of the world.

Continue reading ‘Breaking the (seafood) chain’

How giant kelp may respond to climate change

Diver in Chile prepares to enter kelp forest

Researcher Jose Luis Kappes prepares to enter a dense Chilean kelp bed to collect reproductive fronds. (Jordan Hollarsmith/UC Davis)

When a marine heat wave hit California’s coast in 2014, it brought ocean temperatures that were high for Northern California but fairly normal for a Southern California summer. Much of the giant kelp in the north died in the heat wave, while southern populations survived.

Jordan Hollarsmith was a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory at the time. She wondered why the same species would respond so differently to similar conditions, and what that might mean for the future of giant kelp under climate change.

Hollarsmith’s study, published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, examines how giant kelp may respond to increased ocean warming and acidification. The authors investigated the reproductive success of giant kelp populations in Northern California, Southern California and Chile by exposing them in a laboratory to a range of temperatures and pH levels.

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Investigating impact of ocean acidification and dive tourism on reefs

Kirsten Benkendorff and researchers

Professor Kirsten Benkendorff and researchers

The precarious future of the world’s coral reefs has inspired a major international research project to be led by Southern Cross University.

Funded by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change, scientists from the University’s Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) will join other experts from Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia to investigate the impact of ocean acidification and dive tourism on reefs.

Lead investigator Professor Kirsten Benkendorff said the Asia-Pacific project will draw on expertise in coral biology, ocean acidification, marine tourism and management, and environmental economics.

Continue reading ‘Investigating impact of ocean acidification and dive tourism on reefs’

Ocean acidification can cause mass extinctions, fossils reveal

Blue-green chromis schooling above finger corals underwater near Menjangan island

 Researchers say humanity risks potential ‘ecological collapse’ with seas becoming more acidic, as they absorb carbon emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Photograph: John Anderson/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ocean acidification can cause the mass extinction of marine life, fossil evidence from 66m years ago has revealed.

A key impact of today’s climate crisis is that seas are again getting more acidic, as they absorb carbon emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Scientists said the latest research is a warning that humanity is risking potential “ecological collapse” in the oceans, which produce half the oxygen we breathe.

The researchers analysed small seashells in sediment laid down shortly after a giant meteorite hit the Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs and three-quarters of marine species. Chemical analysis of the shells showed a sharp drop in the pH of the ocean in the century to the millennium after the strike.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification can cause mass extinctions, fossils reveal’

Ocean’s deep-water may be corroding Byron Bay’s coastal ecosystems

Cold ocean waters, the sort that gives relief to beachgoers in the heat of summer, may in fact be corroding coastal ecosystems according to new research from Southern Cross University.

This is because upwelling events – when cold water is forced up from the deep ocean floor – along the East Australian coast (caused by the East Australian Current (EAC)) are accompanied by increasing levels of carbon dioxide which leads to ocean acidification.

On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, in the Californian and Peruvian systems, such upwelling events are accompanied by significant drops in seawater oxygen saturation and pH. Lower pH levels lead to conditions where upwelling waters become corrosive to the mineral aragonite, a vital building block of a number of marine organisms, including corals, snails, mussels and oysters. So, what’s the situation back home in Australia?

Continue reading ‘Ocean’s deep-water may be corroding Byron Bay’s coastal ecosystems’

Living coral cover will slow future reef dissolution

In situ experiment on Great Barrier Reef tests future ocean acidification

A team led by David Kline, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, asked what would happen if they lowered the pH on a living coral reef. By using computer-controlled pulses of carbon dioxide (CO2)-enriched seawater, they simulated a future climate-change scenario. Their results, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, emphasize the importance of protecting live corals.

Continue reading ‘Living coral cover will slow future reef dissolution’

Expert backs international call for action to safeguard our oceans

A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cites several research papers authored by University of Plymouth academics

A world-leading expert on ocean acidification has backed international calls for immediate action to protect our seas against the threat of global environmental change.A report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which cites several research papers authored by University of Plymouth researchers, has revealed the extent of the crisis facing humanity as the ocean and its services begin to show signs of collapse.

It also calls for urgent measures to be put in place, asking that between now and the end of 2020, the High Seas should be protected under international law.

Professor Jason Hall-Spencer, from the University of Plymouth, recently co-authored a report by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) which warned that failure to take action in the next 10 years could result in catastrophic changes in the functioning of the global ocean.

Continue reading ‘Expert backs international call for action to safeguard our oceans’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book