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Podcast: ocean acidification

Description: Guest Carl Lundin, Principal Marine and Polar Scientist in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature

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Ocean acidification impacts on coastal communities

Researchers gathered to formulate recommendations for policymakers on the mitigation, adaptation and research priorities needed to avoid the catastrophic impact of ocean acidification on coastal economies.

Problem

Ocean acidification is “one of the greatest scourges from the development of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to have both concrete and global impact,” H.S.H Prince Albert of Monaco.

The change in seawater chemistry caused by excess atmospheric CO absorbed by the ocean weakens coral reefs and slows their growth. A high CO2 ocean will affect marine organisms and the health of wider ecosystems, and has potentially huge consequences for coastal communities and their economies.

For researchers modelling the type and magnitude of ocean acidification impacts, for governments identifying policy interventions and for coastal communities seeking to maintain current economic activities and benefits, ocean acidification is a growing concern. This is where the Scientific Center of Monaco and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stepped in to help.

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The ocean acidification day of action

The Ocean Foundation has launched a new website that uses digital storytelling tools to engage users in learning about ocean acidification and encouraging them to get involved in the first OA Day of Action, on the 8th of January (8.1, for the pH of the ocean!)

The Baltimore based band Animal Collective took an interest in The Ocean Foundation’s efforts and wrote an exclusive song just for this website. The song, “Suspend the Time,” features sounds from coral reefs and is available for download exclusively through the OA Day of Action website.

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Development of a highly accurate pH sensor for monitoring ocean acidification

To contribute to the goal related to ocean acidification described in SDG14, continuous accumulation of ocean pH data is needed. There is great need for quality instrumentation to assess and monitor slight changes in seawater pH. To meet this need, JAMSTEC and Kimoto Electric Co., Ltd., have developed an in situ highly accurate pH sensor (Hybrid pH sensor: HpHS) for long-term seawater pH monitoring. The HpHS has two types of pH sensors (i.e. potentiometric pH and spectrophotometric pH sensors). HpHS corrects the value of the potentiometric pH sensor (frequently measuring) by the value of the spectrophotometric pH sensor making it possible to calibrate in situ with a standard solution.

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End-of-year update: seagrass may help protect corals from ocean acidification, Mote science affirms

Mote Marine Laboratory research in 2018 strengthened the concept that seagrasses could help protect nearby coral reefs from ocean acidification (OA), a chemistry shift occurring as part of global climate change.

The research, led by Mote Ocean Acidification Program Manager Dr. Emily Hall and in prep for submission to a peer-reviewed scientific journal,  examined coral physiology in the presence of seagrass in the lab and in the ocean.

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Ocean acidification can affect seaweed and humans (podcast)

Ocean Acidification is usually discussed with the subjects of calcium based animals such as Corals, mussels and snails as they need Calcium to build their shells. Calcium will not be available as there is more CO2 in the Ocean. However, not all living Ocean beings will be negatively affected. Plants such as Seaweeds are predicted to thrive.

Many sushi lovers will breathe a sigh of relief at this news, but there is cautioned thrown their way. A new study was recently conducted on how the iodine levels in seaweed, and its consumers, will be affected in the presence of elevated CO2 levels as future IPCC reports suggest.

Iodine is important to humans as it regulates the thyroid hormones in your body. Too little or too much iodine could have serious effects on the body that could decrease human and animal health.

The results show consumers (fish and molluscs) that ate seaweed under increased CO2 conditions possessed elevated iodine concentrations, which means humans will be required to monitor the iodine levels in seaweed in the future to ensure it does not decrease the health in humans.

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Ocean acidification: Canadian community of practice

The Ocean Acidification Community of Practice (OA CoP) was initiated in 2018 and is sponsored by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network. MEOPAR was established in 2012 and is supported by the Government of Canada through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Program.

MEOPAR Communities of Practice (CoPs) bring together researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, and community members to share expertise, to learn, and to provide a space for discussion and co-production of knowledge. The OA CoP aims to inform MEOPAR, as well as individual researchers, about leading-edge developments for Ocean Acidification research in Canada as well as identify current gaps and opportunities for new research. The OA CoP strives to improve linkages and share knowledge between researchers, policy makers, First Nations groups, fishing and aquaculture industries, and Canadian citizens.

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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book