Archive for the 'Press releases' Category

Climate change may turn important marine organisms into ‘junk food’

Microscope image of a small, red marine crustacean on a black background

A calanoid copepod, closely related to the species studied by San Francisco State University scientists. Photo Credit: Mike Stukel

Study shows that predicted future ocean conditions make tiny algae, vital to ocean food webs, less nutritious

A new experiment by San Francisco State University scientists shows that the oceans of the future may make some types of microscopic algae poor eating for the creatures that feed on them, a shift that would have a big impact on fish and other marine animals we eat.

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Squid could thrive under climate change

Photo Credit: Credit: Subphoto / Adobe Stock

Squid will survive and may even flourish under even the worst-case ocean acidification scenarios, according to a new study published this week.

Dr Blake Spady, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University (JCU), led the study. He said squid live on the edge of their environmental oxygen limitations due to their energy-taxing swimming technique. They were expected to fare badly with more carbon dioxide (CO2) in the water, which makes it more acidic.

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Why Noah’s Ark won’t work

A Noah’s Ark strategy will fail. In the roughest sense, that’s the conclusion of a first-of-its-kind study that illuminates which marine species may have the ability to survive in a world where temperatures are rising and oceans are becoming acidic.

Two-by-two, or even moderately sized, remnants may have little chance to persist on a climate-changed planet. Instead, for many species, “we’ll need large populations,” says Melissa Pespeni a biologist at the University of Vermont who led the new research examining how hundreds of thousands of sea urchin larvae responded to experiments where their seawater was made either moderately or extremely acidic.

The study was published on June 11, 2019, in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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Ocean acidification makes some marine snails less able to resist predators

European green crabs are an invasive species in North America. Voracious predators, they seemed relatively unharmed by the more acidic seawater used in these experiments. Image: Josh Lord © 2017 MBARI

As humans release more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the gas is dissolving into the ocean, making seawater more acidic. This threatens the growth and survival of animals such as some corals and snails, whose skeletons and shells may become thinner under more acidic conditions.

But ocean acidification can have more subtle consequences, such as affecting animal behavior and the relationships between predators and prey. Researchers in Senior Scientist Jim Barry’s lab at MBARI have been studying these effects in the institute’s state-of-the-art seawater lab. They recently published a paper showing how ocean acidification makes some snails more susceptible to being eaten by invasive (and predatory) green crabs.

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Corals can’t adjust to acidic oceans

coral reef coralline algae ocean acidification

Coral’s development processes are being impacted by climate change.

A year-long study has confirmed that corals and coralline algae are under threat from acidic and warming waters caused by climate change.

Coralline algae are the architects of coral reefs. The organism connects the reef together and acts as a foundation for an array of marine life. The coralline algae also acts as a breeding ground for these species.

However, new research led by scientists from the University of Western Australia, has found that corals and coralline algae can not acclimatise to changing ocean temperatures and chemistry.

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Climate change causes molecular-level stress responses

Processing of the samples at the local “laboratory” at Volcano Island, Sicily – Italy. (Photo credit: Jason M. Hall-Spencer)

Anemones are abundant in an acidified ocean. But are they thriving? New genomics research shows that ocean acidification puts these animals under considerable stress. The good news is that some marine animals can tolerate the impacts of increased carbon dioxide levels in seawater.

Ocean acidification (OA) is a threat to marine life. Thanks to the discovery of marine carbon dioxide (CO2) seeps, we are able to observe the long-term effects of acidification on marine life. These seeps are natural laboratories and a window into the future.

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Coral reefs can’t return from acid trip


Crustose coralline algae amongst brown algae, Rottnest Island. Credit: Chris Cornwall

A new study published this week in Nature Climate Change finds coral reefs are under threat from ocean acidification.

The study was led by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE). Their results suggest some corals and coralline algae—the ‘glue’ that holds reefs together—cannot survive the expected more acidic oceans caused by climate change.

“The results validate previous research on ocean acidification threats to coral reefs,” said lead author Dr. Steeve Comeau, who is now based at the Sorbonne Université CNRS Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche sur Mer in France.

Continue reading ‘Coral reefs can’t return from acid trip’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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