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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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North East Atlantic hub of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network

The North East Atlantic Ocean Acidification Hub is being established to serve European countries that are conducting monitoring, and other OA activities, within the NE Atlantic region. The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) has encouraged grass-roots formation of regional hubs to foster communities of practice for the efficient collection of comparable and geographically distributed data to assess ocean acidification and its effects and to support adaptation tools like model forecasts.

Countries within the region known to be engaged in OA research and/or with data submitted to the GOA-ON data portal: Belgium, Denmark, Faroe Islands, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK.

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No safe haven for coral from the combined impacts of warming and ocean acidification

Corals reefs face double threats from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide: severe heat stress and ocean acidification. Severe heat stress causes bleaching (the expulsion of corals’ food-producing algae). Ocean acidification (the drop in seawater pH as the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide) reduces the availability of calcium minerals for skeleton building and repair. The combination of these two threats poses a Catch-22 for coral reefs. In many cases, the longer a reef is protected from severe heat stress, the more time the ocean has to absorb carbon dioxide, and the greater the threat the reef will face from acidification by that point in time.

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Ocean sciences in the United States

ocean sciencesThe role of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in supporting the ocean sciences in the United States is examined here by Open Access Government

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency in the U.S. that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

This article looks at the work of NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE), within the NSF, who exist to support research, education and infrastructure that advance our understanding of the global oceans and ocean basins, including their interactions with the integrated Earth system and human beings. Within this division is the Marine Geosciences Section, which has a Chemical Oceanography section and one for Marine Geology and Geophysics (MG&G).

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Community based water sampling for ocean acidification is taking off in Southeast Alaska

Building on an established Tribal network, a number of new communities are now taking part in a weekly sampling program that is providing baseline data on conditions in Southeast Alaska.  Juneau, Wrangell, Hoonah, Yakutat, and Kake are currently collecting ocean chemistry samples, and Craig, Ketchikan and Petersburg are expected to begin as well.

The network is part of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s SEATOR program (Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research), and coordinated by Esther Kennedy. “We have a harmful algal bloom and biotoxin monitoring program already in place where members from 16 different communities send weekly shellfish and plankton samples and ship the shellfish to  our lab,” Kennedy said. “Adding water sampling for ocean acidification was a natural extension, as both are issues our partner communities are concerned about.”

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Sometimes acidification research requires a scrub brush

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© Courtesy of Dr. Janet J. Reimer

Taking care of coastal acidification monitoring equipment provides great insights into the factors that cause acidification.

Dr. Janet Reimer, a postdoctoral research associate at University of Delaware, describes how regular coastal ocean monitoring provides clues about the sources of acidification in nearshore waters. When she’s not at work on the high seas, Dr. Reimer enjoys camping, taking trips to the beach, gardening and spending time with her family in land-locked Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

My job as a scientist could be described as part detective, part adventurer and part cleanup crew. My nemesis? Coastal ocean acidification, also known as “COA,” is affecting some of our nation’s largest estuaries and important marsh habitats. Plants and animals in these ecosystems don’t thrive in lower pH conditions, where acidity is high. Here at the University of Delaware, we have joined the effort to combat COA by monitoring the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary factor that influences marine pH.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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