400 Blows
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By Daniel de la Calle

400 blows do not raise hell after all: This month of May 2013 will be remembered as the time when we passed that 400ppm line of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.  The media often uses the crossing of such a round, numeric Rubicons to begin global campaigns and to instigate the enforcement of serious repair measures, but it seems unlikely that is going to be the case with Ocean Acidification for the time being.  As frightening as it may sound, if you are in your 30s you might very well live long enough to witness how we also tackle 500.  And that will be a very different world, one with even more painfully visible destruction and well recorded examples of irreparable damage done to our oceans.
These past couple weeks have once more produced valuable news and videos about the topic of our documentary and the recurring theme in this blog, the plight of Ocean Acidification:

The expected 400ppm mark in the news:
A Guardian piece from back in April
CNN writes about first hitting the 400ppm mark at Mauna Loa on May 9th
The Keeling Curve, to get the latest reading (399.91 today)

Top-notch HD video by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (a part of the Arctic Council) about Arctic Ocean Acidification:

More videos by AMAP HERE

According to a study conducted in Papua New Guinea by a team of scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science Ocean Acidification could lead to the extinction of an entire class of marine organisms by 2100:
"Forams – or foraminifera – are much like an amoeba with a shell," explains Dr Sven Uthicke, lead author of the study which was published last week in the prestigious scientific journal Scientific Reports, an online journal of Nature. "As CO2 levels increase, our oceans will become more acidic, making it more difficult for these small marine creatures to form the shells they need to survive."
Continue reading HERE
PHOTO: Foraminifera "Star sand" Hatoma Island - Japan

Video: "In Washington State Ocean Acidification is about People" (by the Ocean Conservacy):


TED Talk by NOAA's Shalling Busch under the title: "Ocean Acidification in Washington State":


Richard Feely (NOAA) talks about Ocean Acidification at the University of California, Irvine:


"Shipping pollution along major trade lanes can rival carbon emissions in contributing to the increased acidity of the ocean, according to a new study by an international team."
In the first global analysis of its kind researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Delaware, and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies discovered that during the summer months Ocean Acidification from shipping can equal that from CO2.  Gasses such as sulfur and nitrogen oxide, present in the exhaust gases from ships' engines, can also cause acidification.
“Global shipping has emitted acidifying compounds for decades without emissions controls,” says James J. Corbett, professor of marine policy in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “Only recently have regulatory standards set limits on ship emissions that will take effect between now and 2025.”
"These oxides contribute to long-range pollutant transport, but significant amounts can be deposited within a few hundred nautical miles of the shipping lanes. This study has assessed the consequences of releases from shipping on a monthly basis during one year.
The results show that the greatest acidification from shipping occurs in the northern hemisphere in coastal areas during the summer. In addition, acidification occurs in open-ocean regions surrounding heavily trafficked shipping lanes."

SOURCE

Turns out there actually is a Tums for acidic waters, at least on a local level: Oysters.  Not only have these mollusks fed coastal communities for millennia, filtered and cleaned water while providing habitat for their own young and for other species, but there was actually a time when they were significantly responsible for buffering the increasing acidity of ocean waters.
“Ecosystem effects of shell aggregations and cycling in coastal waters: An example of Chesapeake Bay oyster reefs,” a study co-authored by Professor Roger Mann of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, George Waldbusser of Oregon State University and Eric Powell of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory at Rutgers University, suggests that in 1870—before people began large-scale harvesting of oyster meat and shells from the Chesapeake—the amount of oyster shell exposed to Bay waters was more than 100 times greater than today, with an equally enhanced capacity to buffer acidity.
“Our data show that that oyster reefs likely played a key role in the pH budget of pre-harvest Chesapeake Bay,” says Mann. “The amount of carbonate in the shells of living oysters at that time was roughly equal to the total amount of carbonate dissolved in the modern Bay. If similar numbers of oysters were alive today, they could take up about half of the carbonate that rivers currently carry into Bay waters.”
Read more about this fascinating news HERE

Computer animated video by AFP (Agence France-Presse) on Ocean Acidification:


Dr. Chris Gobler (Stony Brook University) talks about Ocean Acidification:

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Painting Destruction By Numbers
Thursday, April 25, 2013
By Daniel de la Calle

1 In less than two weeks our good friend and Associate Producer Ben Kalina will be premiering his new documentary SHORED UP at the Monclair Film Festival. We are all equally proud and eager to watch the final result of over three years of work and dedication.
SHORE UP:
"Our beaches and coastline are a national treasure, a shared resource, a beacon of sanity in a world of constant change…and they’re disappearing in front of us.
Shored Up is a documentary that asks tough questions about our coastal communities and our relationship to the land. What will a rising sea do to our homes, our businesses, and the survival of our communities? Can we afford to pile enough sand on our shores to keep the ocean at bay? In Long Beach Island, New Jersey and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, surfers, politicians, scientists and residents are racing to answer these questions.  Beach engineering has been our only approach so far, but is there something else out there to be explored?  Our development of the coastlines put us in a tough predicament, and it’s time to start looking for solutions.
"



2 UCSB professor Debora Iglesias-Rodríguez and postdoctoral researcher Bethan Jones have discovered a line of marine organisms that in fact increase their calcification in waters with dropping pH levels. In the new study published by PloS ONE and funded by the European Project on Ocean Acidification they found that the unicellular marine coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi still manages to develop shells when exposed to waters with high CO2 levels.
Interview with professor Iglesias-Rodríguez:


SOURCE
MORE INFO

3 A new study by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers focuses on the effects of Ocean Acidification on cobia fish larvae.  These large tropical fish are highly mobile as they mature and constitute a popular species among recreational anglers.  After exposing the larvae to different levels of CO2 they discovered remarkable resistance consistency in growth, development and activity under probable end-of-the-century pH scenarios.  The study also showed a significant change in otolith ("calcium carbonate structures within the fish's inner ear that are used for hearing and balance") size, up to a 58% increase in mass.  Photo: Cod Otoliths
When tested in a mathematical model of otolith function, the result showed an increase in hearing sensitivity and up to a 50% increase in hearing range.
The study is the first to report impacts of ocean acidification on a large, pelagic tropical fish species.
"Increased hearing sensitivity could improve a fish's ability to use sound for navigation, predator avoidance, and communication. However, it could also increase their sensitivity to common background noises, which may disrupt the detection of more useful auditory information," says  University of Miami researcher Sean Bigmani.

SOURCE
The PNAS publication

4 There will be two Ocean Acidification meetings in Scotland this summer:  The Third Annual Science Meeting of the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme on 22-24 July, 2013, and the Second International Workshop of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network on 24-26 July, 2013, both at the University of St Andrews, North Haugh.
MORE INFO
and REGISTRATION FORM

5 The University of California in Irvine is to host a conference on "Ocean Acidification: Science, Law and Governance" on May 3rd, 2013.
"The program will focus on issues surrounding ocean acidification and its major impact on the West Coast of the United States. The emphasis will be on options for preserving the precious aquatic habitat and the threatened shellfish industry. The problem is global, but the threats are compelling and urgent in the states of Washington, Oregon, and California."
The event is free, but requires RSVP.  People interested in this event can fill out the form HERE
MORE INFO

6 The Ocean Cleanup Array is an innovative prototype designed to palliate one of the oceans' saddest problems: plastic pollution of the world's waters.  This design by aerospace engineering student Boyant Slat looks like a giant vacuum cleaner equipped with floating arms to direct plastic trash along the water surface to a central filtrating structure. The Ocean Cleanup Array project claims to be capable of collecting seven million tons of plastic a year with the use of solar and tidal power to run this vessel nonstop around the 5 ocean plastic gyres.
This is Boyan Slat's TED Talk on the issue:


SOURCE

7 The segment on Ocean Acidification in "Revolution", a new documentary about human beings and the planet can now be watched on Youtube:


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Overflow
Saturday, April 13, 2013
By Daniel de la Calle

How much is too much?  When does a stream of information flow over and one more entry, article, news piece or documentary simply becomes redundant, numbing white noise, counterproductive annoyance? Searching online today, the 12th of April of 2013, for the term Ocean Acidification brings up 1.900.000 pages.  Little compared to Climate Change's 73.600.000, that's true, but when it comes down to the repercussion either figure is having in our fight against environmental threats it seems strength does not exactly lie in numbers after all. Could be we just need to reach the 1.420.000.000 behind Oil or the 2.990.000.000 coming with Money.  But we needn't despair yet, Love does still shines above all this with over 7.560.000.000 entries.*

Some of the results of looking for news on Ocean Acidification and the environment the last couple weeks:

≈≈≈≈USA Today video on Ocean Acidification:


And at the bottom of THIS link you can watch a second video on oyster farming at Oyster Bay and the threat of Ocean Acidification.

≈≈≈≈A second video on oyster farming, this one about Kathleen Nisbet and her father, Dave, two farm oysters in Washington's Willapa Bay that recently shifted some of their business to Hawai'i, after ocean acidification started killing baby oysters in local hatcheries.


SOURCE

≈≈≈≈A great PDF file to download HERE, filled with useful information, maps, images and graphics about Ocean Acidification and the US East Coast estuaries.
"What is at risk?
Key numbers for the East Coast Estuaries:
$497 million: The value of shellfish landings in Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern coastal states in 2010
$110 million: The annual value of East Coast shellfish aquaculture sales in 2011
$30 million: The dockside value of shellfish from Virginia's watermen-farmers, whose harvest has been nearly doubling each year
"

≈≈≈≈"The path to Cape Flattery is a twisty, moss-carpeted tunnel underneath red cedar and Douglas fir trees that crowd Washington state’s rugged coastline. Micah McCarty scrambles down the forest trail to a shoreline below, leaping across tide pools and slippery rocks to a point where waves break on shellfish beds. We’ve reached the northwesternmost point of the U.S. mainland, a craggy tip of the Olympic Peninsula that belongs to the Makah tribe.
This group of Native Americans has been fishing and harvesting here for the past 2,000 years. McCarty, the tribe’s 42-year-old former chairman, pulls out a pocket knife and squats down to scrape a handful of mussels and barnacles into his hand. “We call them slippers and boots,” he says. “I’ll make them into a Makah paella tonight.”
"


SOURCE (to keep reading)

≈≈≈≈Battery hybrid ships are soon to be a reality thanks to the Low Carbon Shipping project, set up by the Norwegian Research Council to identify the cost-effective GHG reduction potential in the world merchant fleet. Det Norske Veritas (DVN) and Grieg Star have carried out research that shows fuel savings of 30% and less than a year's payback time after installing lithium-ion batteries to assist with operations.
READ MORE

≈≈≈≈"Revolution", a new documentary about "saving the humans" that opens in theaters (in Canada, at least) today:





≈≈≈≈The thawing of Greenland's glaciers is enriching North Atlantic waters with iron, pretty much in the same style as all the geo-engineering proposals discussed or bullishly tested over the last few years:
"A melt of Greenland's ice is washing large amounts of the nutrient iron into the Atlantic Ocean where it might aid marine life in a rare positive side-effect of climate change, a study showed on Sunday.
Greenland's thaw, which is raising world sea levels, is also adding about 300,000 tonnes of iron a year to the North Atlantic, based on projections from the muddy melt water of three glaciers in the southwest, it said.
[…]Photo: Iceberg in Greenland
"We suggest that glacial runoff serves as a significant source of bio-available iron to surrounding coastal oceans," the scientists, mainly at the U.S. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience.
"We would expect this glacial contribution of iron to the North Atlantic Ocean to continue to increase under future warming scenarios," they added.
The findings show that "as glaciers and ice sheets melt there may be other effects than just increased sea level," said Maya Bhatia, who was leader of the study at WHOI and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"
CONTINUE READING from the SOURCE

≈≈≈≈A new study from the University of Washington reveals that Ocean Acidification will not only affect the shells of mussels, but also weaken the byssal threads that attach them to rocks. "The researchers found that in higher CO2 conditions, the common bay mussel (Mytilus trossulus) could be dislodged by forces 40 percent lower than mussels attached under current conditions. This is because the byssal threads become weaker and lose their ability to stretch as far."
SOURCE

≈≈≈≈Trailer for the documentary The Whale, a film about a young lost orca off the Alaskan shore:



≈≈≈≈In the story of losers, adapters and winners due to lowering pH levels in the oceans purple sea urchins could be amongst the lucky ones. According to Melissa Pespeni, evolutionary biologist at the University of Indiana, sea urchin larvae studied in her lab under a high CO2 environment showed few visible changes in growth and development, but some noticeable alterations in the abundance of certain genes.  The changed genes are involved in promoting growth, producing minerals and keeping pH within a range that's tolerable to them.
"If any organism were able to adapt and evolve, it would be the sea urchins, because they live in an environment where they're experiencing daily changes in pH," says Pepsini.
The urchins are very long-lived and have more genetic variability than any other species — including humans, she added. Consequently, the urchins have a broad arsenal for responding to changes in their environment.
SOURCE

≈≈≈≈Crabs, crabs, crabs. For some reason three studies about crabs and Ocean Acidification showed up in the news over the last few days:
The first one is about the "effects of Ocean Acidification on Juvenile Red King Crab and Tanner Crab Growth, Condition, Calcification and Survival".
"At the end of the experiment, calcium concentration was measured in each crab and the dry mass and condition index of each crab were determined. Ocean acidification did not affect the calcium content of red king crab but did decrease the condition index, while it had the opposite effect on Tanner crabs, decreasing calcium content but leaving the condition index unchanged. This suggests that red king crab may be able to maintain calcification rates, but at a high energetic cost. The decrease in survival and growth of each species is likely to have a serious negative effect on their populations in the absence of evolutionary adaptation or acclimatization over the coming decades."
SOURCE
The second study by San Francisco State University indicates that Ocean Acidification may be harmful to porcelain crabs. Read MORE HEREPhoto: Porcelain Crab
Finally, the third one is about research published back in 2009 in the journal Geology by Justin Baker Ries (marine geologist at the University of North Carolina's Aquarium Research Center) and coauthored with Anne Cohen and Daniel McCorkle indicates that "higher levels of carbon in the ocean are causing oysters to grow slower, and their predators -such as blue crabs- to grow faster".  The article points out that "Over the next 75 to 100 years, ocean acidification could supersize blue crabs, which may then eat more oysters and other organisms and possibly throw the food chain of the nation’s largest estuary [Chesapeake Bay] out of whack." Read MORE HERE.

*Sex: 1.600.000.000Corruption: 105.000.000War: 1.330.000.000People:  5.370.000.000God: 884.000.000Facebook: 10.600.000.000 (!)
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Marching Through March
Saturday, March 09, 2013
By Daniel de la Calle

March 2013 is furiously peeling off days from the calendar, desperate to pass the torch on to other months, other seasons.  Time these days feels radically non-linear, we better post some news about the oceans and acidification this very day:

According to a new paper published in Nature Geoscience predators could play a role in CO2 emissions on freshwater ecosystems:
"Predators can influence the exchange of carbon dioxide between ecosystems and the atmosphere by altering ecosystem processes such as decomposition and primary production, according to food web theory. […] Here, we report experiments in three-tier food chains in experimental ponds, streams and bromeliads in Canada and Costa Rica in the presence or absence of fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and invertebrate (Hesperoperla pacifica and Mecistogaster modesta) predators. We monitored carbon dioxide fluxes along with prey and primary producer biomass. We found substantially reduced carbon dioxide emissions in the presence of predators in all systems, despite differences in predator type, hydrology, climatic region, ecological zone and level of in situ primary production. We also observed lower amounts of prey biomass and higher amounts of algal and detrital biomass in the presence of predators. We conclude that predators have the potential to markedly influence carbon dioxide dynamics in freshwater systems."
SOURCE

Ocean wave made of glass by Italian artist Mario Cerolli

How US East Coast regions react to Ocean Acidification:  A new large study conducted by scientists from 11 US institutions around the Eastern US and the Gulf of Mexico will help researchers understand how different bodies of water will be affected by changes in acidity.
"Before now, we haven't had a very clear picture of acidification status on the east coast of the U.S.," says Zhaohui 'Aleck' Wang, the study's lead author and a chemical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). "It's important that we start to understand it, because increase in ocean acidity could deeply affect marine life along the coast and has important implications for people who rely on aquaculture and fisheries both commercially and recreationally."
According to the survey different regions of coastal ocean will respond to an influx of CO2 in different ways. "If you put the same amount of CO2 into both the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of Mexico right now, the ecosystem in the Gulf of Maine would probably feel the effects more dramatically," says Wang. "Acidity is already relatively high in that region, and the saturation of calcium carbonate—the mineral that many organisms need to make shells—is particularly low. It's not a great situation."
Wang goes on to explain that excess CO2 can enter coastal waters from a variety of different sources. One large source is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Another potential culprit is nutrient-rich runoff from land. Rainfall and other surface flows can wash fertilizers and other byproducts of human activities into river systems and ground water, and ultimately, into the coastal ocean, delivering an excess of nutrients and often an explosion of biological activity that can lead to decreased oxygen and increased CO2 and acidity. As he points out, 'this happens regularly in the Gulf of Mexico," says Wang. "The Mississippi River dumps enormous amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients into the Gulf, which spawns large algal blooms that lead to production of large amount of organic matter. In the process of decomposing the organic matter, the microbes consume oxygen in the water and leave carbon dioxide behind, making the water more acidic. If this process happens in the Gulf of Maine, the ecosystem there may be even more vulnerable since the Gulf of Maine is a semi-enclosed system and it may take longer time for low pH, low oxygen water to disperse."
After analyzing their data, Wang and colleagues found that, despite a "dead zone" of low oxygen and high acidity outside the mouth of the Mississippi, the Gulf of Mexico on the whole showed a high ratio of alkalinity to DIC, meaning it would be more resistant to acidification. As the team travelled farther north, however, they saw the ratio steadily decreases north of Georgia.
In the study the waters in the Gulf of Maine on average had the lowest alkalinity to DIC ratio of any region along the eastern seaboard, meaning that it would be especially vulnerable to acidification.  While it's unclear exactly why the ratio of alkalinity to DIC is low in those northern waters, Wang believes part of the issue may be linked to alkalinity sources to the region. For example, the Labrador Coastal Current brings relatively fresh, low alkalinity water down from the Labrador Sea to the Gulf of Maine and Middle Atlantic Bight.  If this current is the major source of alkalinity to the region it may mean that the Gulf of Maine's fate could be linked to changes in global climate that, through melting sea ice and glaciers, increase the flow of fresh water to the Gulf of Maine. However, whether this freshening is accompanied by a decrease in seawater alkalinity and "buffer" capacity remains unknown.
Since the waters of the northeast U.S. are already susceptible to rising acidity in Wang's opinion this raises big questions about how species of marine life will fare in the future. "For example, how are oysters going to do? What about other shellfish? If the food chain changes, how are fish going to be impacted?  There's a whole range of ecological and sociological questions." There is a great need for need for more robust coastal ocean chemistry monitoring and coastal ocean acidification studies, he adds. A better understanding of the changing chemistry will help fisheries regulators to better manage the stocks.
SOURCE 1
SOURCE 2

Get more than a penny for your thoughts:  "The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, as part of a larger ocean health initiative, and in collaboration with The Oceanography Society, is offering a $10,000 prize for the most promising new science-based concept for mitigating environmental and/or societal impacts of ocean acidification.
In addition to the prize, the authors of highly ranked concepts will receive invitations to submit full proposals to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation for funding consideration."
"The Foundation seeks concepts that would provide a better understanding of the impact of ocean acidification on different parts of the marine ecosystem and mitigation strategies that might reduce the environmental or societal impacts of ocean acidification. Concepts may focus on natural processes and/or human activities that benefit society. They can be global, regional, or local in scope, and may address a single species/activity or whole ecosystems/industries. While submissions must be firmly rooted in science and should include elements of new basic research, concepts must show a high probability of leading to future demonstrations of a new capability. Preference will be given to interdisciplinary efforts that seek to apply concepts across traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Submissions may come from anyone, regardless of nationality or institutional affiliation, and may represent individuals or teams."

Download the Ocean Challenge Overview PDF HERE
Or read the details HERE

Free seminar on Ocean Acidification on Wednesday, March 13, in Anacortes, WA.  Taking place at the Seafarers' Memorial Park Building between 6 and 8 PM, members of the Puget Sound Partnership Ecosystem Coordination Board, Shannon Point Marine Center, Tailor Shellfish Farms and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership will explain the problem of Ocean Acidification, talk about how shellfish are coping with it and offer recommendations, partnerships and actions.
More info HERE

The California Academy of Sciences has put up a new Youtube video on Ocean Acidification:


The Coastal America Partnership will be hosting its 4th Student Summit on the Oceans and Coasts from March 9-11 in Washington DC, bringing "students from around the US, Canada and Mexico to Washington, DC, to raise awareness of coastal issues and to promote stewardship of our ocean."
"The March 11th Student Presentation Day at the Smithsonian Institution’s National
Museum of Natural History’s (NMNH) Baird Auditorium is open to the public. To
amplify the learning opportunity, this event will also be made
public through a live webcast over the Smithsonian’s Institution’s
Ocean Portal at
www.ocean.si.edu/CoastalAmericaStudentSummit" from 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST. The webcast presents a unique
opportunity for students, educators and the public to watch from
locations throughout the world as these young students make
their voices heard in our nation’s capital."


SOURCE

"The second U.S. Ocean Acidification Principal Investigators' Meeting will be held in Washington, DC at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center on September 18-20 2013. This three-day meeting will bring together the U.S. OA research community to assess the state of OA science nationally and to identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for collaborations that will accelerate OA research in the future.
This meeting offers an opportunity for the scientific community to help shape U.S. national OA research efforts as they develop. In addition to poster sessions to showcase scientific results, meeting activities include numerous panel, plenary, and breakout discussions designed to explore how current U.S. OA research and organizational support fit together, and to identify where greater synergies can be encouraged."

SOURCE and MORE INFO

At least we have laughter to save us from despair when not insanity: "the Tea Party Manatee-Riding Patriots":
SOURCE
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Late February, Late Winter News
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
By Daniel de la Calle

We cannot let the month end and watch the season slowly fade out without a postful of links, videos, news and photos on Ocean Acidification:

»The Oceanography Laboratory at Villefranche-sur-Mer (France) is deploying nine "mesocosms" (52 m3) over a 30 days period in order to cover the range of pCO2 anticipated for the end of the present century.  These "mesocosms" are 15 meter deep plastic tubes closed at the bottom to collect organic matter and open at the top to remain in contact with the atmosphere.  25 researchers from six European countries are taking part in the tests, the second of their kind in the Mediterranean.  While the first experiment, conducted in June/July 2012 in Corsica, was dedicated to the assessment of ocean acidification effects during the summer oligotrophic period, this second one will take place during the winter-spring phytoplanktonic bloom.  Here is a "France 3" news piece on the story:

Une expérience de grande ampleur à Villefranche... por France3Nice
SOURCE

»"Taking Action against Ocean Acidification - A review of management and policy options".   An interview with lecturer Ryan Kelly (Center for Ocean Solutions), Jean-Pierre Gattuso (Laboratoire d'océanographie de Villefranche) and Raphaël Billé (IDDRI) in the monthly seminar "Séminaire du développement durable et économie de l'environnement" organized jointly by IDDRI, the Sustainable Development Center EDF at the Ecole Polytechnique, and the Columbia Global Centers Europe at Reid Hall.  Held in Paris in December 2012.


»Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK) will host the 3rd Annual Sea Surface Ocean Acidification Meeting on April 11th, 2013.
MORE INFO

»Dr. Ken Caldeira, from the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology speaking at Stanford University. He discusses long-term perspectives and near-term actions relating to ocean acidification.


»Ocean Acidification may affect the Great Lakes in the same was it is altering the oceans, according to modeling the study of carbon cycles by Galen McKinley, Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin.  It is clear this is a more complex environment, already severely affected by runoff from cities and agriculture and infested with invasive zebra and quagga mussels that absorb large amounts of calcium carbonate to build their shells.
“One potential area where we might get helped out with is impacts to quagga and zebra mussels,” says McKinley.  “Evidence shows they do not like the lower pH.”
But nobody can guess the outcome of this mix of pollution, Acidification and invasive species until some research is done. “Right now we don’t have enough consistent and detailed measurements to accurately capture what the pH level even is and if it is permanently changing,” says McKinley.
NOAA has proposed to implement the network of preexisting mooring stations in the open waters of each Great Lake with carbon sensors and to study how local organisms respond to greater acidity to be able to model potential impacts to the food web.Photo: NOAA
SOURCE

»"The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) announced last November that it would start releasing periodical monitoring information on ocean acidification, the first of its kind in Japan, along with global warming information using the long-term observational data gathered by its research vessels. The monitoring information will be available in a column of the "Oceanic Carbon Cycle" on JMA's website."
Photo: Japan Meteorological Agency
SOURCE

»On THIS link you will find a presentation on "Ocean Acidification / N2O" by Mr. Sakae Toyoda, from Tokyo Institute of Technology at Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series of the National Academy of Sciences.

»"Ocean acidification and nitrous oxide"
By Michael Beman, University of California, Merced
"Human activities have fundamentally altered the chemistry of the atmosphere and ocean, ultimately pushing our planet into a new geological period known as the ‘Anthropocene.’ While human-driven increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations—and their strong connection with climate change—are well-known, atmospheric nitrous oxide (N2O) concentrations have increased in parallel with CO2. N2O is both a strong greenhouse gas and the dominant destroyer of stratospheric ozone; the steady increase in N2O concentrations is driven primarily by agricultural fertilization, yet N2O is produced by multiple microbial groups that interact in complicated ways, and that may respond to other forms of environmental change. At the same time, climate change is not the only effect of elevated CO2: 25-33% of human-generated CO2 dissolves in the ocean, where it forms a weak acid and reduces ocean pH—a process known as ‘ocean acidification.’ pH is fundamental for ocean chemistry and ocean organisms, and changes in dissolved nutrients, metals, and forms of inorganic carbon are an expected consequence of future ocean acidification. Ocean pH is projected to decline by 0.3-0.4 units by the end of the century, producing wide-ranging effects that include reduced calcification in corals, shellfish, and phytoplankton; altered physiology in fish and other animals; and changes in ocean biogeochemical cycles. In this overview talk, I will present the drivers behind ocean acidification and increased N2O, the underlying dynamics of these changes, their projected effects, and their ultimate interactions."

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Eye Candy as Brain Food
Saturday, February 02, 2013
By Daniel de la Calle

Images of blue along each one of these videos and links:
≈≈≈A feel-good story on video: divers off the shore of Socorro Island in Mexico free a majestic whale shark from the thick anchor rope strangling its body.


≈≈≈Chances are you have seen one of Mark Tipple's iconic photographs of divers and swimmers ducking under white rolling waves along the pages of famous magazines or on the internet.
I took the liberty to make a small screenshot of the new Mare Vida project shots:
Aside from their breathtaking beauty, the images evoke and resonate with the thunderous, relentless power of the oceans, an element both foreign and familiar to us, deserving to be respected, but also ecstatically enjoyed. To the point our breaths allow we can be seals, and play. Here is a Vimeo video of the young artist talking about his better and also his lesser known work.


≈≈≈Read this detailed and technical article from Scientific Reports on "the natural ocean acidification and fertilization event caused by the submarine eruption of El Hierro"
"The shallow submarine eruption which took place in October 10th 2011, 1.8 km south of the island of El Hierro (Canary Islands) allowed the study of the abrupt changes in the physical-chemical properties of seawater caused by volcanic discharges. In order to monitor the evolution of these changes, seven oceanographic surveys were carried out over six months (November 2011-April 2012) from the beginning of the eruptive stage to the post-eruptive phase. Here, we present dramatic changes in the water column chemistry including large decreases in pH, striking effects on the carbonate system, decreases in the oxygen concentrations and enrichment of Fe(II) and nutrients. Our findings highlight that the same volcano which was responsible for the creation of a highly corrosive environment, affecting marine biota, has also provided the nutrients required for the rapid recuperation of the marine ecosystem."
HERE

≈≈≈BIOS, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, does some fantastic work.  One of their projects is the Explored Program, "designed to provide teachers and students with hands-on experience in marine science.  Each year a new theme is chosen to highlight a current topic, and field trips, lesson plans and activites are produced."
BIOS Explorer 2013: Ocean Acidification


≈≈≈NPR audio piece on All Things Considered about plankton and its importance to the health of the planet:
http://www.npr.org/2012/09/30/162008302/a-tiny-ocean-world-with-a-mighty-important-future

≈≈≈New BBC documentary with the title Oceans: Blue Heart of the Planet. "Almost three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered in water and around 90% of all the living space on Earth is contained in the oceans.
These vast reserves cradled early life and continue to be home to a wealth of extraordinary creatures. At least 230,000 unique species have been documented, although as humans have only explored a small fraction of the depths, there may be as many as two million.
As well as being home to everything from whelks to whale sharks, the oceans offer a range of critical services, including acting as a source of food and regulating the atmosphere.
In particular, the oceans are also vital as sponges for green house gases, taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through two processes - dissolving straight into the water column and also through photosynthesis by phytoplankton.
Today, the oceans soak up around one third of all of human carbon emissions
But this comes at a terrible cost. The composition of the oceans is changing to become more acidic, threatening the tremendous diversity  of creatures that call them home."
Watch the trailer HERE

≈≈≈EDF, the Environmental Defense Action Fund has launched a campaign to "thank Administrator Lubchenco for being an oceans advocate."
"During her time as NOAA Administrator, Jane Lubchenco took historic strides towards protecting our fisheries and ensuring ocean sustainability.
As her time at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association draws to a close, we'd like to show her our great appreciation for all she's done. Will you join us?"

You can do so by signing HERE

≈≈≈Thanks to a $2.7 million grant from the state Alaska will soon have a buoy network capable of feeding real time ocean acidity, temperature, conductivity and dissolved oxygen data into the Alaska Ocean Observing System.
The information will be available to both scientists and the general public.
SOURCE

≈≈≈"If you are interested in the Arctic Ocean and how science and policy work together, then Arctic Ocean Acidification conference organized by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) is a perfect venue to learn more this. The conference will take place in Bergen, Norway, 6-8 May 2013."
"The main topics to be covered are:
- results from observational, experimental and modelling studies of past, present and future ocean acidification,
- responses of marine organisms and ecosystem structure, functioning and biodiversity
- perturbations to biogeochemical cycling and feedbacks to the climate system, and
- the economic, social and policy challenges of ocean acidification."

Detailed information HERE

≈≈≈By clicking on THIS link you can download a complete e-lecture by Richard Feely and Scott Doney titled "Ocean Acidification:The Other CO2 problem".
"Lecture Summary:
The overall goal of this lecture is to provide an overview of the process and progress of ocean acidification in the global oceans and its impacts on marine organisms over time scales of days to centuries. Examples of acidification impacts on corals, shellfish, and zooplankton are given to show how acidification can affect different kinds of life processes. This lecture describes what we know and what we don't know about ecosystem responses to acidification and the socio-economic implications for our society. Finally, we discuss the future implications of increased CO2 levels on the health of our ocean ecosystems and related ocean-based economies."


≈≈≈3 year Postdoctoral position at HKU (University of Hong Kong) to study marine invertebrate response to climate change at proteomics or biomineralization or physiology levels.
More details about this work opportunity HERE

≈≈≈PhD position at the University of Bristol to study "the future of shelf ecosystems". More information at the University of Bristol website.
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January 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
By Daniel de la Callehttp://www.danieldelacalle.com/

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."
SOURCE

≈≈≈≈"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.”"
SOURCE
MORE INFO

≈≈≈≈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."
"
SOURCE

≈≈≈≈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
MORE INFO

≈≈≈≈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.""
SOURCE

≈≈≈≈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.
"
SOURCE
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Deceptive December
Friday, November 30, 2012
By Daniel de la Calle

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
SOURCE 1
SOURCE 2

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.
SOURCE 1
SOURCE 2

≈≈≈≈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.
MORE INFO

≈≈≈≈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.

SOURCE

≈≈≈≈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
SOURCE

≈≈≈≈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.
SOURCE

≈≈≈≈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.
SOURCE
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After the Storm
Friday, November 16, 2012
By Daniel de la Calle

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."

SOURCE

≈≈≈≈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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13 News for the 31st
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
By Daniel de la Calle

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
SOURCE

≈≈≈≈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
SOURCE

≈≈≈≈Interdisciplinary symposium on Ocean Acidification in Hong Kong from 11-14th of December, 2012.
SYMPOSIUM SCHEDULE
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.
THE PIECE

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."
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≈≈≈≈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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