Gone is 2012, the hottest or coldest year in recent history depending on where you live, gone too are the days of Ocean Acidification information famine. You can now watch videos deciphering the oceans, listen to songs about acidity, follow via tweets a research expedition to Antarctica, attend a seminar near you or listen to senatorial speeches on the threat poised by CO2 on life in this planet to name but a few. Enjoy… hmm, you know what we mean:
≈≈≈≈"Ocean Acidification: See Through My Eyes", by the Ocean Ark Alliance.
≈≈≈≈"Acidifying Waters Corrode Northwest Shellfish", a PBS News Hour piece published last December.
≈≈≈≈"Ocean Acidfication", by the RU Center for Digital Filmmaking.
≈≈≈≈"Ocean Acidification: Can Corals Cope?", a video from UCSD-TV from the Perspectives on Ocean Science series (check out the list with over 50 videos), to "hear Scripps marine biologist Martin Tresguerres describe research into the potential impact of ocean acidification on corals, and the mechanisms these amazing marine animals use to try to cope with the problem."
≈≈≈≈"Ocean Acidification", a song.
≈≈≈≈"An expedition to the icy waters of Antarctica has begun aboard the RRS James Clark Ross. The five-week mission will study the effect of ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean. The scientists will be contributing to a blog www.antarcticoacruise.org.uk
During the expedition, scientists will study the impact of the changing chemistry on marine organisms and ecosystems, on the cycling of carbon and nutrients in the sea and on how the sea interacts with the atmosphere to influence climate. This study is part of the UK Ocean Acidification research program UKOA. www.oceanacidification.org.uk/
Dr Geraint Tarling, from the British Antarctic Survey is leading the team of thirty scientists. He said: “This is the most comprehensive investigation into the response of the Southern Ocean ecosystem to ocean acidification yet mounted. The team will not only look at how different parts of the ecosystem respond in isolation but also see how effects interact to produce an ecosystem-level response.”"
≈≈≈≈An interesting article on Scientific American (originally published at The Daily Climate titled "US Effort on Ocean Acidification Needs Focus on Human Impacts".
"A federal plan to tackle ocean acidification must focus more on how the changes will affect people and the economy, according to a review of the effort by a panel of the National Research Council.
"Social issues clearly can't drive everything but when it's possible they should," said George Somero, chair of the committee that wrote the report and associate director at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station. "If you're setting up a monitoring station, it should be where there's a shellfish industry, for example.""
≈≈≈≈The 2013 Alaska Marine Science Symposium is taking place on January 21-24 in Anchorage. Federal fisheries scientists speaking out on king salmon and Ocean Acidification issues will be among the keynote speakers. The event is free and you can register HERE
≈≈≈≈For those living in Washington State on January 24th (6-8PM) there will also be a free seminar at the Everett Station on Ocean Acidification. The event is hosted by the Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee.
"Terrie Klinger, University of Washington School of Marine & Environmental Affairs ecologist will present "What is Ocean Acidification?" Shallin Busch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research ecologist, will present "Food Web Implications of Ocean Acidification." Brad Warren, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and National Fisheries Conservation Center Director of Global Ocean Health, will present "Recommendations, Partnerships and Actions.""
≈≈≈≈A couple work and study opportunities:
1 Post-doctoral fellowship in modelling the carbonate chemistry of the PETM ocean at the Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.
2 Ocean Acidification Spring Research Apprenticeship at UW’s Friday Harbor Labs.
≈≈≈≈"Climate Change and Ocean Acidification", as delivered on the Senate floor by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:
"Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, there are many signs of the fundamental, measurable changes we are causing in the Earth's climate, mainly through our large-scale emission of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. These are irreversible changes, at least in the short run, so we should take them very seriously.
Over the last 250 years, the global annual average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 280 parts per million to 390 parts per million. That is a 30-percent increase. We have recent direct measurements that the carbon dioxide concentration increased by 15 percent since 1980 when it was 339. In 1980 it was 339 and now it is 390. That is just a dozen years in which the concentration of CO
2 in our atmosphere has increased by more than 50 parts per million. Fifty parts per million is a big shift if one is not aware of the scales we are talking about here. For 8,000 centuries--800,000 years--longer than homo sapiens have existed on the face of the Earth, we can measure that the carbon concentration in the atmosphere has fluctuated between 170 and 300 parts per million. A total range of 130 parts per million has been the total range for 8,000 centuries. We are now outside of that range up to 390, and we have moved 50 points since 1980, in a number of decades. So the consequences are going to be profound, and perhaps no consequence of that carbon pollution will be as profound as the increasing acidification of the world's oceans.
Science, of course, has known since the Civil War era, and most of us understand, that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere creates a warmer atmosphere known as the greenhouse effect. There is nothing new about that. But not all of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity--by our use of fossil fuels--stays in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is soluble in water and the oceans cover 70 percent of the Earth. Where the atmosphere is in contact with the oceans, a portion of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolves into the oceans, reacts with the sea water to form carbonic acid and increases the overall acidity of the oceans.
There is sometimes quarrel and debate about complex modeling of climate and atmospheric projections, but evidence of ocean acidification is simple to measure and understand. Indeed, even the small noisy chorus of climate change deniers and corporate polluters is noticeably quiet on the issue of ocean acidification because they simply cannot explain away the facts.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists gauge that over the past 200 years, hundreds of billions of tons of carbon dioxide have been absorbed into the oceans. NASA, which is able to put, for instance, a man on the Moon and a Rover on Mars and has reasonably good scientists working there who can accomplish those achievements, reports that:
“The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.”
NOAA scientists say the oceans are taking up about 1 million tons of carbon dioxide per hour. So in more or less the time my remarks are concluded, the equivalent of more than the weight of the Washington Monument of carbon will have been dumped into our oceans. All of the extra carbon dioxide humans have pumped into the oceans has caused the global pH of the upper ocean water to change--a nearly 30-percent increase in the acidity of the oceans.
As my colleagues can see, the curve is not only moving upward but is steepening. Where is it headed? By the end of this century, it is projected we will have a 160-percent rise in ocean acidity. As we can see, not only are the oceans becoming more acidic, but they are becoming more acidic at a very rapid pace. The rate of change in ocean acidity is already thought to be faster than at any time in the past 50 million years.
I talk, when I give this weekly speech from time to time, about the 800,000 years our planet has had a carbon dioxide concentration between 170 and 300 parts per million and how long a time period that is compared to say humankind having the mastery of fire, humankind having engaged in agriculture, humankind even existing as homo sapiens. It is longer than all of those things. But that is just measuring in the hundreds of thousands of years. We are talking about a rate of increased carbon concentration and ocean acidity climbing faster than at any time in the past 50 million years.
What does that mean? Well, a paper published in the journal Science, which is a mainstream, non-crank publication, earlier this year concluded that the current rate of carbon dioxide emission could drive chemical changes in our oceans that are unparalleled in at least the last 300 million years. We are back into geologic time now since we saw that kind of an effect. The authors warn that we may be “entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change.” Well, when our range of review is in the hundreds of millions of years and the authors are talking about entering unknown territory, that is really saying something.
Here is what Dr. Peter Brewer, the senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, has to say. Let me quote him:
“The outcome is very clear that we are in uncharted territory in the entire span of Earth history. The primary cause of this is simply the rate of CO2 change; we are changing Earth far, far faster than any recorded geologic shift ever.”
Repeat: “We are changing Earth far, far faster than any recorded geologic shift ever.”
What does this mean for marine life? Well, as the pH of sea water drops, so does the saturation of calcium carbonate, which is the compound found in the sea water that aquatic animals use for the construction of their shells and of their skeletons. Some sea creatures absorb calcium carbonate directly from the water; others ingest it as food and then through their bodies it works out to build their shells. At lower saturations of calcium carbonate, calcium carbonate is not as available to these species, and it becomes more difficult for them to make their shells; species such as oysters, crabs, lobsters, corals, and the plankton that comprises the very base of the oceanic food web. We have seen this happen in real life already with the disaster that befell the Pacific Northwest oyster hatcheries when acidic water came in and killed off all the juveniles that were being grown.
Over 1 billion people on this planet rely on marine protein as their primary source of protein, and then, of course, there are the countless jobs that depend on fisheries, on tourism, on restaurants, boat building, maintenance, shipping, and the list goes on. The Presiding Officer is from Maryland, which is another ocean State. He is clearly aware of the importance of that ocean economy.
As things get harder for the species to survive and thrive, sooner or later it will get harder for the economies they support. Let me give my colleagues a specific example: the tiny pteropod, a type of snail, which is about the size of a very small pea. It is also known as the sea butterfly because its foot has adapted into two butterfly-like wings which allows it to propel itself around in the ocean. These images show what can happen to the pteropod's shell when the creature's underwater environment is lacking in those compounds and becomes more acidic. That is not good for the pteropods.
Another study compared pteropods incubated in sea water with today's pH to pteropods incubated in water with the acidity and chemical conditions projected for the year 2100. The study found a 28-percent decrease in shell growth. Maintaining their shells against that acidity requires energy--energy that would otherwise go into other biologic processes such as growth or reproduction. So increasing ocean acidity is an external stress that makes it harder for species such as the pteropod to survive.
Who cares about the lowly pteropod? Well, salmon do. Forty-seven percent of the diet of some salmon species in the Pacific is pteropods. The salmon fisheries that support coastal jobs and economies also care about the salmon. Ocean fishing in the United States overall is a multibillion-dollar industry connected to hundreds of thousands of livelihoods, and we should care about our fisheries industry, even if one doesn't care about the salmon or the lowly pteropod.
These unprecedented changes in ocean acidity are not happening alone, unfortunately.
These changes come along with dramatically changing ocean temperature, which is also driven by the same carbon pollution. Just recently, NOAA proposed listing 66 species of coral as endangered or threatened, citing climate change as the driver of those species' three key threats: disease, warmer seas, and greater ocean acidification. When you add to those three conditions the preexisting stressors, such as nutrient pollution and destructive fishing practices, well, 35 percent of the world's reefs are classified as in a critical or threatened stage.
Scientific projections indicate that coral reef ecosystems could be eliminated in 30 to 50 years. The young pages who are on the floor of the Senate listening to this speech may very well live into a time when coral reefs and the ecosystems surrounding them are extinct. The death and decline of coral reefs, which are the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, in turn wounds hundreds of other species that call the reefs home. When a reef ecosystem collapses and does not recover, it quickly becomes dominated by algae, and the rich mix of species developed over hundreds of millions of years that was once present there then disappears.
Scientists think the coral reefs off the coast of Papua, New Guinea offer a window into future effects of ocean acidification because there are natural emissions of carbon dioxide which bubble up from the sea floor through the ocean and raise the concentration making the sea water more acidic. Researchers have found that many species, especially the more complex framework-building corals, which provide shelter to other organisms, do not thrive where the pH is lower.
These are two photographs taken in the same reef. We see how rich and vibrant this reef looks away from the carbon dioxide. Here, near the carbon, where the acidification is higher, it is a shadow of the healthy reef. The human-driven acidification of the ocean is capable of causing--indeed is destined to cause if we do nothing--a serious imbalance in the ocean's complex ecology. The external stress of carbon pollution will result in a new equilibrium in ocean ecosystems.
When we consider what this portends for our food security, for our planet's biodiversity and economically for ocean-based industries, we cannot afford to ignore these changes that are happening, that are measurable in our oceans.
Unfortunately, ignoring it is exactly what we are doing by failing to curb carbon pollution. There are high stakes involved. Our oceans cover 70 percent of the planet. We cannot change their chemistry without expecting profound consequences. It is time we realize we are, in fact, part of the very food chain being disrupted by the mounting acidification of the ocean.
The disruption of international fishing due to climate change and acidification threatens to destabilize local and global economies and compromise a major basic food source. How much? How much are we willing to sacrifice for the luxury of letting corporate polluters foul our planet with unchecked CO2 emissions? Carbon pollution from fossil fuels is depleting the health of the oceans as well as affecting the atmosphere. Unless we take serious action to reverse course, the consequences may be dire. We are sleepwalking through history. I implore my colleagues to heed the clear and persistent warnings that nature is giving us: to acknowledge the responsibility presented to us in this moment and to respond appropriately before it is too late.
I yield the floor."
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December in the Southern Hemisphere equals summer heat and the end of the school year, but thanks to the winds from the north we still get snowflake and icicle lighting on the streets of Rio de Janeiro and the ever-present image of that famous obese man promising presents, provokingly overdressed with those boots and red coat.
Let's begin this confusing month with our classic news update on Ocean Acidification and the state of the world's seas:
≈≈≈≈This past Tuesday Governor Chris Gregoire made Washington State the first to adopt a policy to take on Ocean Acidification after signing an executive order underscoring the importance of recommendations from her Blue Ribbon Panel On Ocean Acidification. The order signed by Gregoire, whose term will end in January, calls on the state to invest more money in scientific research, curb nutrient runoff from land, and push for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions on a regional, national and global scale.
“A healthy ocean is critical to our health and our coastal economies. We have learned that human caused emissions of carbon dioxide are dramatically altering the ocean’s chemistry at an alarming rate. These emissions, mostly resulting from burning fossil fuels, are now threatening our ocean ecosystems. Ocean acidification is yet another reason to quickly and significantly reduce emissions of carbon dioxide across the planet,” said Gregoire.
“Let’s get to work,” Gregoire told audience at the Seattle Aquarium, adding that she would propose that the legislature reallocate $3.3 million in state funding to pay for research and other actions. “Let’s lead the world in addressing this global challenge.”
Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel strategic response on PDF
Mending the Nets (State Library of Florida)
≈≈≈≈Scientists from NOAA, British Antarctic Survey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of East Anglia discovered severe dissolution of the shells of living pteropods in the Southern Ocean during a science cruise in 2008.
The team examined an area of upwelling, where winds cause deep cold water to be pushed upwards from around 1,000 meters to the surface of the ocean. Upwelled water is usually more corrosive to a particular type of calcium carbonate (aragonite) that pteropods use to build their shells. The point at which this occurs is known as the "saturation horizon". The team found that the combined influence of ocean acidification and natural upwelling meant that in some areas the saturation horizon was around just 200m - the upper layer of the ocean where pteropods live.
"Co-author and science cruise leader, Dr Geraint Tarling from BAS, said: “Although the upwelling sites are natural phenomena that occur throughout the Southern Ocean, instances where they bring the ‘saturation horizon’ above 200m will become more frequent as ocean acidification intensifies in the coming years. As one of only a few oceanic creatures that build their shells out of aragonite in the polar regions, pteropods are an important food source for fish and birds as well as a good indicator of ecosystem health. The tiny snails do not necessarily die as a result of their shells dissolving, however it may increase their vulnerability to predation and infection consequently having an impact to other parts of the food web.”"
The results of the study are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
≈≈≈≈Interested in carrying out your own Ocean Acidification lab research and experiments? The University of Washington offers hourly usage of their Ocean Acidification Environmental Laboratory. There is even a self-service option available to those experienced with carbonate chemistry measurements. Contact the OAEL Manager, Dr. Michael O'Donnell for guidance on fee structure and the application process.
≈≈≈≈Digging around I found this 16 minute piece of Brad Warren speaking about Ocean Acidification at the 2012 NW Straits Marine Resource Committee Annual Meeting, held in Port Townsend, Washington.
≈≈≈≈Serge Dedina has put up a list at the Coronado Patch with what he sees as "the top coastal issues we need to address in 2013 and beyond". The list includes climate change, Ocean Acidification, coastal restoration, sand replenishment, marine protected areas and coastal pollution. Read the article HERE
≈≈≈≈The Smithsonian Magazine recently published the results of new research done by Georgia Institute of Technology revealing how corals send out chemical signals to recruit the help of goby fish in removing toxic seaweed. If turtle weed, a toxic seaweed that causes bleaching, gets tangled up on coral branches "the researchers worked out how the coral contacts the gobies to let them know that they need their hedges trimmed. Once the coral gets hit with chemicals from the invading turtle weed, it releases its own chemical signal—an emergency call to gobies—within 15 minutes. And, within another 15 minutes or less, gobies receive the message and swoop in to nibble away at the encroaching foliage."
"It’s also possible that such subtle chemical signals could be disrupted by ocean acidification. Clownfish and damselfish raised in seawater with the acidity scientists predict we’ll see in the year 2050 have trouble identifying scents in seawater to find their homes or avoid predators. If these gobies have similar problems, the impacts of acidification on reef communities could be greater than expected."
READ MORE of this interesting article talking about the importance of biodiversity.
≈≈≈≈Short CBS8 video on Ocean Acidification and a lecture series that took place last month at Birch Aquarium in San Diego, California. San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com
≈≈≈≈Scientists from the University of Rhode Island are using a 264,000-gallon salt water tank at the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory to simulate the surface of the Arctic Ocean. They hope to understand how diminishing ice coverage will affect the concentrations of atmospheric gases. You can read more about their work in THIS Wired Magazine article by Jeffrey Marlow and/or watch the time-lapse video of an ice-coverage experiment:
≈≈≈≈Postdoctoral Fellowships: The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center offers postdoctoral fellowships for applicants interested on either of two projects:
"1)Effects of diel-cycling hypoxia and pH on estuarine fish, shellfish and food webs. This project is based in Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware Coastal Bays and includes laboratory experiments, field studies and modeling components. We’ve developed a laboratory system that is capable of simulating daily cycles of dissolved oxygen and pH in up to 5 simultaneous treatments. Strong collaborations with management agencies facilitate field experiments and sampling.
2)Mangrove ponds as a model system to study acidification. This work takes advantage of the Smithsonian’s network of field stations in Belize and Panama and could be expanded to FL as well."
Fellowship information can be found at http://www.serc.si.edu/pro_training/fellowships/postdoc.aspx. The deadline is January 15.
≈≈≈≈The folks at Infographicsmania have created a cool graphic about oceans carbon pollution that can be downloaded or shared HERE
≈≈≈≈The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) signed a letter of intent to expand the range of their joint research projects on November 13th. Possible future cooperation will likely include research on Ocean Acidification and deep sea exploration.
≈≈≈≈Check out the WORLD CLOCK for the year 2012 to see in real time population increases across various regions and worldwide, what the major causes of death and illness are, our global food production and consumption, CO2 emissions, deforestation, extinction of species or energy consumption (to name but a few).
Screenshot of the World Clock
≈≈≈≈International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification to be held in Bergen, Norway, 6-8 May 2013.
"The Conference will present the results of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) assessment on Arctic Ocean Acidification, lead by Richard Bellerby, Howard Browman and Lars-Otto Reiersen.
Conference Organisers are AMAP, Institute for Marine Research (IMR), Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), and University of British Columbia (UBC)."
PDF with more information.
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The storm passed and so did the election, strangely intertwining both in a way that made hard to distinguish one from the other. In a world steamrolling to global weirding certain people call a late October hurricane in Manhattan "the new normal". For some absurd reason such a catchphrase has also become political, either tabu, denied, or embraced and yelled with sad predictability.
I do not have the answers, cannot recite the facts, numbers, figures, correlations or graphics and wont pretend I do. If the whole issue is tabu to you chances are you stumbled upon this post and are shaking your head in disgust. If you believe, worry and despair you probably find the futile comfort and warmth of this small reflection of your credo. I simply and desperately wish we could all quietly agree the storm showed once again how mighty strong nature is, how easily it turns a cargo boat into a sinking toy and it blows the million dollar homes like dandelion seeds in July. Maybe then being humble, respectful, watchful and preventive will also become the new normal.
Some news to keep afloat in the current surge of information; we do not want the blog to flood too. November feels the longest month of the year:
≈≈≈≈"Fish on Fridays: Hurricane Sandy, Climate Change, and the Future of Fish", a Center for American Progress article by Michael Conathan.
"As our last wild capture industry, fishing businesses are arguably more reliant on natural forces than any other profession. It’s a centuries-old vocation, inherently dependent on knowledge passed down from one generation to the next, so when species distribution patterns evolve, even subtle change becomes readily apparent."
≈≈≈≈A BBC World Service audio piece on the Anthropocene, "the age we made". "Millions of years from now, scientists will be able to read the rock forming now and see that something profound and unprecedentedly rapid…" LISTEN to it HERE
≈≈≈≈Talkingfish.org recently interviewed Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Research Associate Sarah Cooley about the impacts of Ocean Acidification on the shellfish industry and the future of the New England waters.
Read it HERE
≈≈≈≈For once, a bi-partisan move trying to save the Washington State's shellfish took place last month: Gov. Chris Gregoire formed a 28-member panel to work on a 43-item list of projects and 20 top priority measures on Ocean Acidification the state could tackle prior to the upcoming state legislature session in January.
"Potential top priorities include:
1 Reducing air emissions that can be linked to local ocean water acidity.
2 Reducing amounts of nutrients flowing into local sea water. These measures could involve overhauling sewage treatment plants and other sewage system to meet standards that still need to be set..
3 Exploring using salt-water vegetation to combat the impact of ocean acidification.
4 Improving and expanding monitoring of ocean acidification."
≈≈≈≈It has been a while since we put a Youtube video on Ocean Acidification. This one is for children and was created by ATMO's Atmospheric Sciences Outreach group.
≈≈≈≈Seminar day on Ocean Acidification in Gothenburg, Sweden for the 30th of November. It is organized by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and you can register by sending an email to Kerstin Cote HERE or download a PDF with details HERE
≈≈≈≈A six week laboratory experiment by the University of Otago on algal communities and their response to Ocean Acidification.
"This project has shown that greater CO2 concentrations could positively influence photosynthesis in some species of fleshy macroalgae by reducing carbon limitation, however, calcifying algae are vulnerable to the oceanic chemistry changes caused by ocean acidification. These varying responses among species and the variability of communities under different levels of water motion is likely to lead to communities responding to ocean acidification at a local scale."
Read more from the SOURCE
≈≈≈≈A controversial but nevertheless interesting text by Bernard David for the Huffingtonpost: Climate Change and its Influence On Investing: A New Perspective
≈≈≈≈PhD project opportunity to study carbon dioxide uptake and carbonate chemistry in UK shelf waters. The deadline to apply is the 17th of May 2013 and you can read more about it on the University of East Anglia's website.
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Three years ago you really needed to scrape at the bottom of the barrel to come up with news on the web about Ocean Acidification. Today I am "only" posting 13 items and have to leave at least 10 more out:
≈≈≈≈64% of the waters existing outside national jurisdiction, the "high seas", are yours. And mine. As John Platt rightly writes in a recent Mother Nature Network article, "according to the United National Law of the Sea Convention, these unregulated bodies of water — and the fish and minerals they contain — belong to all of mankind and should be used to serve the common good."
The new TerraMar Project wants to protect those high seas. If you visit their site you can claim a parcel of the ocean, take a virtual dive with Google, friend a marine species or find interesting educational projects. Although the main purpose of the website is to celebrate the oceans, the website does address the various threats to life inside those waters, from plastic pollution to illegal dumping, from overfishing and whaling to Ocean Acidification.
VISIT THEIR WEBSITE and BECOME A CITIZEN
≈≈≈≈Sweden wants trash and wants it badly. The Scandinavian nation is facing an unusual problem since their waste-to-energy program began running out of source material. 20% of Sweden's district heating comes from garbage incinerators, but they are not producing enough waste to feed it on their own, so 800,000 tons of trash are being imported every year from neighboring European countries (mainly for those new rich, the Norwegians) to power plants. That is how Norway has ended paying Sweden to take their trash and then receives the residue polluted ashes, filled with heavy metals, back to bury in home soil.
You can read or listen to the original PRI information HERE.
≈≈≈≈A CBS news piece about Ocean Acidification and oyster farming in Washington State.
≈≈≈≈The Smithsonian announced this week the launching of a $10 million project to study coastal marine biodiversity and ecosystems around the world over a long period of time.
"The Tennenbaum Marine Observatories will be the first worldwide network of coastal ecological field sites, standardizing measurements of biological change. By studying sites with Smithsonian experts in biology, ecology and anthropology, and using technologies like DNA sequencing, the project will provide an unprecedented understanding of how marine biodiversity is affected by local human activities and global change, such as ocean warming, acidification and rising sea levels."
"The project will have five field sites: the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay, the Institution’s marine station at Fort Pierce, Fla., Carrie Bow Cay in Belize and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s two locations in Panama—Bocas Del Toro on the Caribbean and Naos station on the Pacific. As the project grows, the Smithsonian will establish additional research sites with collaborators around the globe to monitor coastal ocean health, with the goal of at least 10 new sites within the next decade."
SOURCE at ARTDAILY.ORG
≈≈≈≈Mussels could lose their anchor with Ocean Acidification: FHL's Emily Carrington's lab presented a study at the Third International Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World last month that showed how the silky threats (byssus fibers) glueing mussels to one another and to rocks become significantly weaker in water with a pH lower than 7.6. Water temperature seems to also be a major factor, "with threads about 60 percent weaker in 77 degree Fahrenheit water than in cooler 65 degree water. READ MORE about mussels’ sticky substance and why researchers think it can offer important insights for developing new adhesives."
Nice NPR audio piece on byssal threats HERE.
PHOTO CREDIT: EMILY CARRINGTON FOR INSIDESCIENCE.ORG
≈≈≈≈Interdisciplinary symposium on Ocean Acidification in Hong Kong from 11-14th of December, 2012.
Tuesday (Dec. 11th 2012) Opening ceremony and mixing party (starts at 4.30 pm)
Wednesday (Dec. 12th 2012) Climate change: coastal warming, acidification and hypoxia Coastal aquaculture and fisheries in a changing climate Coastal climate change: a physiological perspective Larval life in the changing coastal oceans
Thursday (Dec. 13th 2012) Biomineralization: a materials engineering perspective “OMICS”: a powerful tool in modern ecology research The forum for collaborative coastal acidification research Symposium Banquet
Friday (Dec. 14th 2012) Graduate students perspectives on multidisciplinary OA research How to write and publish brilliant research papers—tips from experts
More information and registration HERE
≈≈≈≈Interesting Op-Ed piece on the NY Times a couple weeks ago about "How to Catch Fish and Save Fisheries". Environmental ministers from numerous countries met last week to, for a second time, try to reach an agreement that protects 10% of the world's oceans. As Carl Safina and Brett Jenks point out, the situation around the world is dire, but there is still hope because we have not reached a point of no return yet. The biggest challenge, but also a big portion of the solution is in the hands of small-scale fisheries and the expansion of TURF (Territorial User Rights Fisheries) reserves.
PHOTO: STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES OF FLORIDA
≈≈≈≈To study and be able to predict the effects of Ocean Acidification on commercial fisheries NOAA announced last September grants for a total $1.6 million over the next three years for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, The State University of New York at Stony Brook and the University of Washington.
Read more details on the NOAA site
≈≈≈≈The University of Southern Mississippi and Liquid Robotics are carrying out an Ocean Acidification study in the Gulf of Mexico. Physical oceanographer Dr. Stephan Howden, of the University of Southern Mississippi is using the Liquid Robotics Wave Glider to measure CO2 and dissolved oxygen levels, pH, water temperature, conductivity, air temperature, barometric pressure and wind speed and direction on a route around the Mississippi River Delta. Data is being reported in near-real time and is available on the GCOOS Data Portal so you, from your home, can follow its course and see the results right now. Just a click away.
≈≈≈≈In early October "National Science Foundation’s research team successfully retrieved data from a sensor (SeaFET) they had deployed in Antarctic waters at the end of previous research season. It will provide critical baseline data on the changes in chemistry or acidification in those remote seas and will also be first of its kind about the relative acidity–expressed as pH–of the waters in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica."
"Deployed by divers under the sea ice and left in place at the end of the 2011-2012 Antarctic research season, the sensor gathered data through the month of June, which is the height of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Data gathering ended when the instrument’s battery failed in the frigid waters. Having a pH baseline will provide an important benchmark for scientists to begin to test whether certain species have the physiological and genetic characteristics to adapt to projected change."
SOURCE at BEFOREITSNEWS.COM
PHOTO CREDIT: NSF/UCSD
≈≈≈≈Two scientists at Western Washington University's Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes have received a $543,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the impacts of Ocean Acidification on organisms that form the base of the oceanic food web. The "new project will examine how the production and storage of fats in phytoplankton exposed to acidic conditions affect the reproduction of one of its principal predators, the copepod. Copepods are an important component in the oceanic food web, since they are fed upon by finfish, shellfish larvae and other marine animals such as herring, Dungeoness crab, and filter feeders such as baleen whales and whale sharks. Copepods are prevalent both locally in the Salish Sea and in global oceans."
≈≈≈≈It's not for everyone, that's true, but if you wished to listen to a part or the whole five and a half hour "webinar of the seventh and final meeting of the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification" you will be overjoyed to find it HERE.
≈≈≈≈"A postdoctoral position is available in the Geology and Geophysics Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution starting in February 2013. The position is part of an NSF-funded project to determine the compounded impacts of ocean acidification, warming, and oxygen depletion on the health, survival and growth of benthic foraminifera. The successful candidate will work with the PI to set up the experimental system, conduct a long-term experiment, process samples, analyze data, and write a manuscript(s). The material to be studied will be bathyal foraminifera to be collected on a research cruise in May or June 2013; the successful applicant will join this approximately one-week cruise."
APPLY (Postdoctoral Investigator Ocean Acidification, job 12-10-04
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After the visit to Southern and Central Chile in early May we are catching up with some of the latest news on Ocean Acidification while preparing as well for the +20 summit at the end of June in "lindo" Rio de Janeiro.
Here are some news sifted through the web of webs:
≈≈Eastern Brazil is home to the largest rhodolith bed in the world according to a recently finished two-year study. What are rhodoliths and how does relate to Ocean Acidification? I had found these pebblely-coral-looking objects on the ocean floor or washed up on beaches everywhere all the time, but never knew what they were. This is a picture of four:
Turns out they are made of many layers of hard red algae and they "play a critical role in a healthy marine ecosystem by providing primary habitat that can yield diverse and abundant communities of fish and invertebrates of high commercial value," as Professor Rodrigo Moura (Rio de Janeiro Federal University), co-author of the study, points out.
"Rhodolith beds face an array of threats including ocean acidification, sedimentation from land-based sources and large scale dredging and mining. Though acidification looms the largest and cannot be managed regionally, the other threats to the health of the Abrolhos shelf rhodolith bed can be managed on a local scale. The bed falls within the Abrolhos seascape, a 9,5000 square kilometer (37,000 square miles) area of ocean where Conservation International works with the Brazilian government and community organizations to conserve and manage ocean resources.
"Based on the relatively high vulnerability of coralline algae to ocean acidification, the rhodolith beds are likely to experience a profound restructuring in the coming decades,” said the lead author of the study, Gilberto Amado-Filho, a researcher at Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden. “With the Abrolhos shelf bed producing an estimated 25 million metric tons of calcium carbonate a year, its protection and continued study should be prioritized.”"
≈≈Fuel for fuel lovers: "Large wind farms might have a warming effect on the local climate, research in the United States showed on Sunday [April 29th], casting a shadow over the long-term sustainability of wind power" read a Reuters piece that was lustlily repeated in delight over the internet.
"The world's wind farms last year had the capacity to produce 238 gigawatt of electricity at any one time. That was a 21 percent rise on 2010 and capacity is expected to reach nearly 500 gigawatt by the end of 2016 as more, and bigger, farms spring up, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.
Researchers at the State University of New York at Albany analyzed the satellite data of areas around large wind farms in Texas, where four of the world's largest farms are located, over the period 2003 to 2011.
The results, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, showed a warming trend of up to 0.72 degrees Celsius per decade in areas over the farms, compared with nearby regions without the farms.
"We attribute this warming primarily to wind farms," the study said. The temperature change could be due to the effects of the energy expelled by farms and the movement and turbulence generated by turbine rotors, it said.
"These changes, if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate," the authors said."
"More research is needed", they said too.
It would be naive to think that alternative energy sources do not come with some cost, that there is a 100% clean source of energy to feed the needs of six billion people. I lose hope contemplating the delight and cheer with which these news (the extent of truth of this one still waiting for "more research") are welcomed and repeated over particular blogs and sites. Is it something anyone should be happy about? Do we live in the same planet? Like the morally deprived is exalted and finds legitimation seeing others fail or sin, their clothes stained, there is no desire for betterment or personal change, just anger and ammunition for war.
I suppose all this joy must at least imply a certain amount of underlying acknowledgement of the global problem we are facing.
Please read more from the SOURCE
≈≈A test to bring back high school memories: "Are You Smarter Than a 10th Grader on Climate Change?", from the PBS website. I hope you have the Ocean Acidification questions right.
≈≈Nature will always have the power to surprise me with its creations, wisdom and self-defense techniques. Two very different in size examples: 1Researchers have just discovered that whales may be able to protect their ears by lowering their hearing sensitivity when warned of an imminent loud sound.
"Whale hearing may be the most fascinating marine mammal sense," says Paul Nachtigall, a biologist at the University of Hawaii who started his career studying otter vision, but soon switched to whale and dolphin echolocation. Earlier experiments by Nachtigall and his colleagues suggested that whales can actively shield their hearing from loud outgoing echolocation clicks, which can reach sound levels equivalent to a rifle fired right next to the ear. The scientists wondered if the animals could similarly protect their ears from incoming loud noises.
The team repeatedly played a short warning sound followed by a loud sound to a false killer whale working in the laboratory in a floating facility off Coconut Island at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. They measured the animal's hearing sensitivity by placing suction-cup sensors on the skin of the whale's head and recording the frequency of its brainwaves. Initial results indicate that the whale significantly reduces its hearing sensitivity when warned that a very loud noise is about to arrive.
"It appears as though the whales learn this pairing of warning signal and loud sound rapidly through classical conditioning," says Nachtigall. Many human activities such as oil exploration and the use of ships' sonar create loud noises in the ocean. If wild whales could quickly learn the meaning of a short warning sound, the technique might help lessen the impact of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals, Nachtigall notes."
2And now watch these unbelievable carrier crabs as they use everything from rocks, corals to a sea urchin to defend themselves!:
≈≈Our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity want all of us to help them fight for the future of coral reefs by signing THIS petition to list 56 species of corals in US waters as threatened and endangered by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
≈≈It is an ad, yes, but watch this and try to keep the mouth closed:
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»When the media loves something it just takes over the internet. News came out yesterday about the new study by the Stockholm Environment Institute titled "Valuing the Ocean" where marine experts analyzed the most severe threats facing the world's marine environment and estimated the cost of damage a year coming from Ocean Acidification, sea level rise, global warming, pollution, species migration and increased intensity in tropical cyclones. The Swedish institution believes that by the year 2100 it could reach $2 trillion a year. Amongst all the possible links I could give you to this same news, HERE is one that appropriately comes from the business section of the Chicago Tribune.
Oh, those figures do not take into account the possibility of small island states disappearing by rising seas or the impact of warming on the ocean's basic processes, such as nutrient recycling.
»If you have never seen it before, this is your chance to watch an Ocean Acidification buoy deployment (in Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary, Massachusetts, last year):
»Today is World Water Day, next week it will be Earth Hour. All these initiatives have such a bittersweet aftertaste, like some art of frustrating encouragement.
»Lecture on Climate Change and Ocean Acidification this Sunday, March 25th, at Joyce Beers Community Center, in San Diego, California. Daniel Richter, PhD candidate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography will deliver the lecture, which is this month's meeting of the SD Association for Rational Inquiry.
»Today, March 22nd, from 6 to 8PM, there will be an Ocean Acidification Seminar at the Padilla Bay Reserve - 10441 Bayview-Edison Rd. Mt Vernon, WA 98273
I read on their website: "Are you curious about the effects of carbon pollution on our oceans? Join two of Washington state's leading science and policy experts to learn about this issue and new research in Washington state. This event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by the Northwest Straits Commission, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, and the Whatcom and Skagit Marine Resources Committees."
»On Friday March 30th the "College of Science and Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will present Dr. Bill Landing, professor of oceanography at Florida State University, who will speak on “Mercury Deposition in the Gulf of Mexico” on Friday, March 30, at 3:30 p.m. in the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, conference room 127."
»Playlist of 9 Youtube Videos of panel discussions at the Ocean Acidification Symposium 2011, held at the Univ. Washington Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle, Washington, sponsored by Washington Sea Grant, HERE
»Hermie, the hermit crab:
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»Could the protection of marine areas be counterproductive? That is what Professor Ray Hilborn, from the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences, believes. Professor Hilborn stated in late February during an interview for an Australian radio station. You can read the transcript HERE and listen to the interview HERE.
While some of his arguments are somewhat interesting I could not agree less with them. Protecting land, lakes, rivers and seas is always a good idea and has proven to be visibly effective: beneficial. To claim that this will increase fish and seafood demand from parts of the world (China, Thailand or Brazil) where fishing and farming is not properly done just means some measures need to be taken about food imports. The rest is demagogic. The US, Australia or the EU could easily ban such imports, take measures, work with producing countries on production and quality control, impose sanctions. To affirm that marine reserves do nothing other than appease people's consciences and deviate us from global problems like Ocean Acidification is first of all not true. Since when is a good policy the one responsible for bad practices in other areas? We could perfectly well be protecting marine areas while we finally began taking worldwide factual measures. I simply cannot see how setting up good examples and leaving some parts of the world in peace from the stress we cause upon them is in any way detrimental. Let's move the discussion to terra firma: would Professor Hilborn suggest to act in the same fashion in his country's National Parks? Should hunting and controlled farming be allowed in Yosemite and Yellowstone? I think the problem for the nth time is that we persist in looking at the seas of the world with different eyes from the way we see land, that is why we continue using them as "magical" dumps and we are depleting them in the style hungry teenagers go through their parent's fridges some Saturday nights.
»The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service this week "for failing to develop a recovery plan for two species of coral, elkhorn and staghorn, that live off the coast of Florida and the Caribbean. Although these corals have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 2006, the Fisheries Service still has not yet developed a crucial, and legally required, recovery plan to avoid extinction and secure their future survival."
Both elkhorn and staghorn corals were in fact the first species to be protected under the Endangered Species Act back in 2006 due to the threat of global warming and Ocean Acidification. In a few decades they have declined by more than 95%. Photo: Elkhorn and Staghorn corals
»Mobile marine reserves as means for protection in the future. This is the proposal conservationists brought forth at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver, Canada. How would this work out? The mobile marine reserves would use GPS tracking devices to follow endangered marine animals such as sharks, leatherback turtles or albatross and the areas with the highest populations would be temporarily closed down to trawlers and industrial fishermen. As Professor Larry Crowder of Stanford University expressed at that meeting, "Less than 1% of the ocean is protected at this point, and these marine parks tend to be built around things that sit still like coral reefs and seamounts. But tracking studies show that many, many organisms - fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds and sharks - respond to oceanographic features that don't have a fixed point. These features are fronts and eddies that may move seasonally, from summer to winter, and from year to year based on oceanographic climate changes like El Nino or the Pacific Decadal Oscillation."
The idea is no doubt interesting; whether it is realistic or not depends more on national and international regulation, since the technology is already available.
»The Atlantic Ocean Alliance has launched a campaign to protect Antarctica's ocean through the world's largest network of marine reserves. The Antarctic Ocean contains waters from the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and for this reason some scientists do not consider it a separate ocean. Although this part of the world is largely untouched and unexplored it faces several environmental problems derived from climate change, overfishing, ultraviolet radiation and Ocean Acidification. The area the Atlantic Ocean Alliance wants to conserve is the Ross Sea. The protection network would cover roughly 3.6 million square kilometers between Antarctica and New Zealand. It is seen "as a ﬁrst step towards establishing a comprehensive network of marine reserves and MPAs around Antarctica.” The proposal was presented to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a body made up of representatives from 24 nations and the European Union that is precisely focusing on protecting marine areas in the Antarctic this year.
To read more you can download their PROPOSAL HERE and sign their PETITION HERE
This is their video:
»PROTECTION: Massive Attack/Everything But The Girl
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By Daniel de la Calle
¤Marine Spacial Planning presents a rational approach to ocean management. The system tries to "allocate space in the ocean allowing compatible uses to coexist, separating incompatible ones, all while protecting the environment". This video presentation with Philippe Cousteau explains things in more detail:
"The ocean economy in the USA is larger than the entire farm economy and employs almost twice as many people."
¤PDF by the National Marine Sanctuaries and NOAA on West Coast Sanctuaries and an Ocean Acidification Plan.
¤We post (almost) all videos that have to do with Ocean Acidification. THIS ONE HERE comes from Tufts' University Environmental Biology class and it was done by Valerie Cleland, Anne Elise Stratton, Erica Rigby, Zobella Vinik. Artsy.
¤Interesting study funded by The Nature Conservancy (PDF). It is titled "Detecting regional anthropogenic trends in ocean acidification against natural variability" and quoting the authors it shows "that the current anthropogenic trend in ocean acidification already exceeds the level of natural variability by up to 30 times on regional scales. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the current rates of ocean acidification at monitoring sites in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans exceed those experienced during the last glacial termination by two orders of magnitude."
¤Scientists from the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar in Barcelona have identified the molecular mechanism that links the increase of water temperature to the inhibition of aromatase. Aromatase is the enzyme responsible for transforming androgens into estrogens, and estrogens are essential in the formation of ovaries in all non mammal vertebrates. So under high temperatures during the larval and juvenile periods of sea bass this epigenetic environmental factor "overwrites" DNA information and turns all initially female sea bass into males.
... which indirectly has to do with what I see as the irrevocable responsibility derived from knowledge, the one that raises the profound moral question of entitlement. We often discuss our choices around the planet and the need for preservation and protection in view of our future survival as a specie. We cry about deforestation in the Amazon jungle imagining all the hypothetical drugs that would have been extracted from plans, fight against overfishing in fear of depletion of a food source, protect air quality with our children's lungs in mind. This barely raises our status in the animal kingdom to that of a sophisticated predator, exclusively focused like the rest on self preservation, lately becoming a plague to all life matter. I am completely certain that the women and men of the next era, if we do not cause our own fall and hope to deservedly call ourselves "evolved" will fully understand the position of responsibility for our actions, acting as we do now on a planetary scale. Those people of the future will obviously continue to plant, harvest, kill to eat, or for protection, will still want a comfortable and happy life, but they will do it all responsibly, placing first that question of entitlement.
My best buddy jokes that the world is like a public toilet: we all want to walk into the same kind of place. The way each one of us leaves it behind is unfortunately another story.
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By Daniel de la Calle
We are still in January, the month of lists and resolutions for the remaining 11 months or the rest of our lives. Here I list of some of those lists:
•The Center for Biological Diversity announced their Top Ten priorities for 2012. Here is the list:
1 Save the Endangered Species Act.
2 Protect more species.
3 Save wolves.
4 Stop Arctic drilling.
5 Expand awareness of overpopulation.
6 Defend polar bears.
7 Fight Climate Change.
8 Stem the tide of Ocean Acidification.
Quoting what they write about Ocean Acidification:
"As oceans absorb carbon dioxide, or CO2, seawater chemistry changes and the water becomes more acidic. According to scientists, the oceans have become about 30 percent more acidic due to human CO2 emissions — and this spells trouble for ocean life. First of all, ocean acidification depletes seawater of the compounds that organisms need to build shells and skeletons, impairing the ability of corals, crabs, seastars, sea urchins, plankton and other marine creatures to build the protective armor they need to survive. To make matters worse, fish and other ocean organisms may be adversely affected from the rise in acidity in their ocean habitat. Fish are common ocean prey, and plankton are at the base of the ocean food chain, so when these animals suffer, so do the countless animals that eat them. Ocean acidification could disrupt the entire marine ecosystem.
Since ocean acidification is one of the gravest threats to marine biodiversity, the Center is tackling it head on, and has launched an initiative to protect our oceans from CO2 pollution. The Clean Water Act is the nation’s strongest law protecting water quality, and we’re using the tools provided by this law to stop pollution causing ocean acidification as well as to improve water-quality standards and monitoring for pH. In 2007, we petitioned eight coastal states to declare ocean waters impaired under the Clean Water Act due to ocean acidification, which would require those states to limit CO2 pollution entering waters under their jurisdiction, helping to reduce the devastating effects of ocean acidification. The same year, we also petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose stricter pH standards for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect U.S. waters from acidification. Finally, in spring 2009, the agency for the first time invoked the Clean Water Act to address the acidification crisis, calling for data to use for evaluating water-quality criteria under the Act. But when it failed to take action against ocean acidification in Washington state waters — which are in violation of the state’s already lax water-quality standard for pH — we were forced to sue the agency in spring 2009. Thanks to our landmark lawsuit, the next year the EPA recommended that coastal states begin addressing ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act.
We also advocate for the protection of species affected by ocean acidification, most notably elkhorn coral and staghorn coral, which comprise much of the rapidly declining coral reefs of Florida and the Caribbean. These corals were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2006 as a result of a Center petition, and in September 2007, we sued the National Marine Fisheries Service to speed designation of critical habitat. While elkhorn and staghorn corals are the first species to be listed because of vulnerability to global warming, they unfortunately won’t be the last. The Center will continue to defend our ocean’s life and oppose the pollution that threatens it."
9 Safeguard wildlife and people from pesticides.
10 Protect public lands from dirty energy projects.
Plus a link to their page on the Keystone XL Pipeline.
•Treehugger's David DeFranza made a list of "Ten marine species on the brink of mass extinction due to Ocean Acidification". We had to have it here:
1 Blue Sea Slugs
3 Brittle stars
7 Sea Urchins
10 Clown Fish
•Greepeace's blacklist of irresponsible fishing operators and the companies behind them.
They say: "This database is a convenient tool for national fisheries administrators, and anyone interested to quickly check on the compliance status of a foreign vessel trying to unload its catch in port, seeking services in port, seeking a fishing license or to register or flag in a country. Greenpeace also encourages retailers and suppliers to use the database to ensure the fish they source do not come from pirate fishing vessels or from companies involved in such activities."
•Vermont Law Top Ten environmental watch list 2012.
Vermont Law School, which has one of the top-ranked environmental law programs in the USA, just released its second annual Top 10 Environmental Watch List of issues and developments that should be closely followed in 2012.
1 With Republicans Attacking the EPA, 2012 Could Be a Turning Point for Environmental Regulation
2 EPA and White House Clash Over Ozone Standards
3 Powder River Basin’s Abundance of Coal at the Epicenter of Energy Development
4 Activists Claim Victory, Temporarily, on Disputed Keystone XL Pipeline
5 EPA, Transportation Department Step Up Sector-by-Sector Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
6 Federal Appeals Court Settles Roadless Rule…for Now
7 Fukushima Fallout Affects Global Energy Security, Cost, Safety, Grid Reliability
8 U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Regulate Greenhouse Gases Under Federal Common Law
9 Landmark Settlement Under the Endangered Species Act
10 Combating Climate Change Through Enforcement: EPA v. TVA
•The US Government list of popular New Year's resolutions with some resources and personal encouragement to achieve your goals:
1 Drink Less Alcohol
2 Eat Healthy Food
3 Get a Better Education
4 Get a Better Job
5 Get Fit
6 Lose Weight
7 Manage Debt
8 Manage Stress
9 Quit Smoking
10 Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
11 Save Money
12 Take a Trip
13 Volunteer to Help Others
•NOAA's list of coastal counties in the USA (PDF).
If you read this far you deserve to know that a couple of the links are arbitrary when not preposterous.
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By Daniel de la Calle
•Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute scientists have launched a sophisticated, unique tool to study the effects of Ocean Acidification on deep-sea animals in their native habitat, using free-flowing water. The idea behind Free-Ocean Carbon Enrichment (FOCE) is to create a test area on the seafloor where seawater pH can be controlled. Small animals can be placed in the test chamber and their behavior and physiological responses monitored.
Photo by MBARI
Read more about the fascinating experiment HERE.
•Two papers recently published in Global Change Biology by scientists from Australia, the US and France provide an interesting look at how the threat of Ocean Acidification to reefs vary from one to another.
"Overall, CO2 enrichment and ocean acidification is bad news for coral reefs", says Dr. Ken Anthony, Research Team Leader for the Climate Change and Ocean Acidification team at the Australian Institute of Marine Science. "But some reef areas take up more CO2 than they produce (through photosynthesis), which can lower the vulnerability of neighboring reef areas to ocean acidification. On the other hand, reef areas with greater coral cover produce more CO2 than they consume (through calcification and respiration) and that adds locally to the ocean acidification threat". Dr Joanie Kleypas of the National Center for Atmospheric Research believes that "If we can start to understand which areas of large reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef can counteract pH changes locally and which areas cannot, then we are better able to assess the relative risks of ocean acidification".
"Reef managers have been faced with the problem of ocean acidification as a uniform threat affecting all reef areas equally. These new studies are a first step to help reef managers understand how some areas might in fact lower the impact of ocean acidification in neighboring areas, whereas others will further acidify themselves. Seagrass beds, for example, can significantly reduce CO2 levels in the water, providing more favorable chemical conditions for neighboring reefs", says Dr Anthony. Continue reading HERE.
•I recently saw an advertising piece about the use of biodegradable bags and plastic wrappings on sailing boats. Sailors around the world should embrace the idea and commit to only using compostable and biodegradable bags, leading an example and modestly fighting the alarming presence of plastics in the oceans. The particular brand is called BioBag, and HERE is the page where you can read more about the benefits of using such products.
•Ken Caldeira continues his series of videos about Ocean Acidification and coral reefs for the Carnegie Institution for Science on Youtube. This one is with Julia Pongratz:
•David Shiffman, a PhD Student and research assistant at the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program asked for our vote in the 2011 Blogging Scholarship (which provides $10,000 towards education and research expenses) finals. I already voted for him and his shark conservation blog HERE. If you want to vote too just remember that it is the bubble next to "David Shiffman: Southern Fried Science".
•Two or three blog posts ago I wrote about insular dwarfism and this week I have some news about animals diminishing in size: recent studies indicate that climate change might be shrinking numerous plant and animal species. David Bickford, from the National University of Singapore believes ectotherms (cold-blooded animals like toads, turtles and snakes that rely on environmental heat sources) are changing a lot. The study draws information from fossil records as well as "comparative studies and research implicating anthropogenic climate change over the last hundred years". For example, fossils from a warming phase during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum indicate that burrowing invertebrates like beetles, bees and ants shrank in size by up to 75%. In the seas, each degree of warming has been shown to decrease the size of fish by up to 22%, but the biggest threat to marine life could be the reduced growth rates of phytoplankton in response to acidification, which "could negatively affect all ocean life because it forms the basis of the marine food web", says Bickford.
You can read more in THIS CNN piece.
•Researchers in Spain are using posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows to track the evolution of heavy metal pollution in Mediterranean waters all the way back to 4,500 years ago.
Photo by Alberto Romero
The first heavy metal residue is found in the strata going 2,800 years back, coinciding with the first mining and metal work by Romans and Greeks. During the last 1,200 years the presence of metals has increased gradually, but it was within the last 350, since the beginning of the industrial revolution, that the levels began to skyrocket, with a significant increase in the presence of lead, zinc and arsenic. These threatened seagrass beds can be invaluable to research, but they more importantly serve as a great filter and storer of heavy metals along the Mediterranean shoreline.
As a footnote, the posidonia meadows around the coast of the island of Ibiza are over 5 miles long and are believed by some to be the biggest and eldest living organism, continually growing for over 100,000 years.
Read about it (in Spanish) HERE.
•A new study by a group of European scientists led by Michael T. Burrows, from the Scottish Marine Institute, reveals that, although ocean temperatures are increasing at a slower rate than in the atmosphere, its progress and effects on sea life is quite similar. Spring keeps coming two days earlier every year and regional temperatures are traveling North and South from the equator at an average speed of 27 kilometers per decade. Also, the rate of warming seen by the scientists was greatest in equatorial oceans, which is also where biodiversity is currently highest, the analysis shows.
Species are having to either migrate to keep living within the same temperatures or, in some cases, modify their reproductive times. But these options are not available for all animals. Arctic species cannot migrate to colder regions and in places like the Mediterranean, where the sea is enclosed between Europe and Africa, a migration North is not possible. Carlos Duarte, research scientist for the Consejo Superior de Investivaciones Científicas in Spain concludes: "when the speed of climate change is faster than the speed organisms can disperse or when there are physical barriers that make dispersion impossible species can only adapt or become extinct." The ARTICLE in the online edition of El País. The information published in the journal SCIENCE IS HERE.
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