They get it in Europe

The European Union is stepping up to the plate. Even though the full ramifications of ocean acidification aren’t yet known, they’re not waiting around. Rather, they’re launching an EU-wide initiative to study the phenomenon. Ocean acidification is happening today and it’s happening on top of global warming, so we are in double trouble" stated [Jelle] […]

Too close for comfort

Now it’s in the U.S. backyard: elevated pH levels in the Pacific, within 20 miles of the coast, documented for the first time. The data are reported in a study authored by Richard Feely, Christopher Sabine, J. Marting Hernandez-Ayon, Debby Ianson, and Burke Hales, summarized in Science Express. The area studied is known for its […]

Subcommittee Reviews Legislation to Research and Monitor Ocean Acidification

(Washington, DC) th Today, the House Committee on Science andTechnology’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing toreview H.R. 4174, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research andMonitoring Act. Committee Members examined the current status ofscience on ocean acidification and research and monitoring activitiesfocused on ocean acidification and its potential impacts on marineorganisms and marine ecosystems. […]

Devil (fish) in the details

This week the European Union’s initiative for studying ocean acidification kicks off in Nice, France. The name’s a bit unwieldy—the European Project of Ocean Acidification (EPOCA)—but we’re just glad a governmental entity’s paying serious attention and putting some resources and publicity behind the effort. It’s truly an international effort focused on filling in "the numerous […]

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger

Some organisms seem to be adapting to ocean acidification. Live Science is reporting on a study conducted by scientists at the University of Washington of tiny plants called coccolithophores. A kind of algae, they respond to increased acidity by building thicker shells. This does not mean go out and buy that Hummer you’ve been thinking […]

A fledgling Sea Change in Florida

A 20-minute, work-in-progress cut from A Sea Change will screen in early July in the Educational Center at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Though the symposium is for scientists, the Educational Center is open to the public, so we’re hoping to get some feedback we can keep in mind as […]

National Ocean Month

President Bush has officially declared June to be National Oceans Month. So maybe it’s time to celebrate pteropods, some of the creatures most vulnerable to changes in ocean pH. They’re a kind of plankton. When you get up close and personal to pteropods they’re delicate, captivating animals, actually tiny molluscs and relatives of clams and […]

The ocean as a limestone dump

Here’s a solution to the problem of ocean acidification: dump in a bunch of limestone to neutralize it. Evidently it works, according to Danny Harvey at the University of Toronto. You’d have to dump in quite a lot, though. Try 4 billion tons. Per year. Over decades. Even assuming its ecological side effects are relatively […]

A new use for the oceans

Holy smokes. There’s actually serious consideration being given of using the oceans, specifically the deep ocean or benthic area, as a dump for excess carbon dioxide. Even though we already have evidence that the extra CO2 in the atmosphere that’s dissolving in the ocean is causing serious problems. The Guardian just published article on what […]

A Sea Change–Alaska vignette

Click to Play In which we start to get a sense of the deep economic and social implications of ocean acidification. The Exxon Valdez catatrosphe gives us a hint of what could happen. Includes comments from Verner Wilson,  III, Alaska native and youth activist. Formats available: Quicktime (.mov), Flash Video (.flv)

Up-to-date info on climate issues from scientists

RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.Their goal: " to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary." They eschew discussion of the political and economic implications of their reports; however, their posts often engender extensive, […]

Marine Ecosystem Response to “Ocean Acidification” Due to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment

ReferenceVogt, M., Steinke, M., Turner, S., Paulino, A., Meyerhofer, M.,Riebesell, U., LeQuere, C. and Liss, P. 2008. Dynamics ofdimethylsulphoniopropionate and dimethylsulphide under different CO2 concentrations during a mesocosm experiment.  Biogeosciences 5: 407-419. What was doneEffects of atmospheric CO2enrichment on various marine microorganisms and DMS production werestudied in nine marine mesocosms maintained within 2-meter-diameterpolyethylene bags submerged […]

Reefs may “unglue” in high carbon-dioxide oceans

"Cements that bind individual coral skeletons and larger coral reefstructures are predominantly absent in waters with naturally highlevels of carbon dioxide (CO2), making these reefs  highly susceptible to a wearing down of their physical framework, say  scientists with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in  Miami, Fla. and other institutions. The study, released in the […]

What we know is a drop in the ocean

It’s darn expensive studying the ocean, as two Australian scientists pointed out recently. That’s the reasonwe know a lot more about what’s going on above sea level. ‘"Marine ecosystems are undoubtedly under-resourced,overlooked and under threat and our collective knowledge of impacts onmarine life is a mere drop in the ocean,’ wrote Dr Anthony Richardson,from The […]

Ocean acidification and the Southern Ocean "Scientists at the Australian Antarctic Division and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre,based in Hobart, are conducting a range of experiments on plankton andsediments from the Southern Ocean, to determine the effect ofincreasing CO2 on marine organisms and the impacts this will have on the ecosystem. A research voyages in 2007, the […]

The Eur-Oceans Project offers ocean acidification 101

A short video intro to the basics of ocean acidification, courtesy of the Eur-Oceans Project, a network of research teams co-funded by the European Union. A bit dry but some nice graphics. Also available in French for our francophone friends.

More about the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA)

More about EPOCA, from gattuso’s website: "The EU FP7 Integrated Project EPOCA (European Project on OCeanAcidification) was launched in June 2008 with the overall goal toadvance our understanding of the biological, ecological,biogeochemical, and societal implications of ocean acidification (Fig.1). The EPOCA consortium brings together more than 100 researchers from27 institutes1 and 9 European countries. The […]

A century of ocean acidification

ENN’s reporting on the future effects of acidic seawater and things don’t look great for echinoderms (the starfish family). Sea urchins were the guinea pigs in recent experiments conducted by scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Australian waters. The sea urchins studied were allowed to reproduce in water with a pH of 7.7, which […]

Climate change & the ocean

Dr. Richard Feely, Director of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab, spoke at Northwestern University last February, part of their Global Warming: A Threat to Biodiversity program for the public.

Climate change or global disruption

Scientist John P. Holdren, in a July 3 appearance on Democracy Now!, argues that global warming is a misleading term. Heprefers global disruption. In his interview, he says: “‘Global warming". . .implies something that’s mainly about temperature, that’s gradual, andthat’s uniform across the planet. . . In fact, temperatureis only one of the things that’s […]

Half US corals reported at risk

In a 569-page document released Monday at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, NOAA reports that almost half of all coral reef ecosystems under U.S. jurisdiction are in poor or fair condition. Threats to corals include coastal development, fishing, sedimentation,recreational use, and climate-related effects of coral bleaching,disease and ocean acidification.

Ocean chemistry 101 for the lay person

The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media just published a very good article by Marah J. Hardt and Carl Safina explaining ocean acidification. Their primary audience is journalists, but any layperson will find it a valuable resource for understanding the issue. "Changing ocean chemistry threatens the survival of marine life asmuch as warming […]

Sea fertilizing solution for ocean acidification

Can phytoplankton absorb the excess CO2 in the oceans? Some scientists have suggested this as a solution: adding iron to the ocean’s surface to encourage the growth of these tiny plants. The first to suggest this was oceanographer John Martin in the late 1980s. In May, 200 countries reached an agreement during the ninth Conference […]

Islands in the line of fire

It seems that, just as island nations have to come to terms with global warming before the rest of us, the same may be true of ocean acidification. When you think about it, it stands to reason: many islands are protected by coral reefs from storms and cyclones. If the reefs are endangered, so are […]

Cut greenhouse gases to save coral reefs

A new document called the Honolulu Declaration was just released at a U.S. conference on coral reefs in Hawaii. Reefs are considered sentinel ecosystems, key sign of environmental degradation. The document states: "The most logical and critical action to address the impacts of ocean acidification on coral reefs is to stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration." […]