Melting glaciers might be making ocean water more acidic, an unexpected finding that's given scientists new cause for concern. A new study published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests surprising ways that climate change is drastically altering the water chemistry in deep seas—a process that may happen faster than researchers anticipated.
Australian scientists are optimistic that a fertility treatment for coral could help regenerate the Great Barrier Reef. The 2,300 kilometer long coral reef -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- has been extensively damaged by a process known as coral bleaching in which warm water stresses the organism and causes it to die.
(Click to enlarge). The Chukchi Ecosystem Observatory is maintained by a multi-institutional, multi-investigator partnership that includes the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Ocean Observing System, the North Pacific Research Board, Olgoonik-Fairweather, Université Laval, and the University of Washington. On a recent research mission, University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists brought home the first [...]
The effects of ocean acidification on marine life have only become widely recognized in the past decade. Now researchers are rapidly expanding the scope of investigations into what falling pH means for ocean ecosystems. The ocean is becoming increasingly acidic as climate change accelerates and scientists are ramping up investigations into the impact on marine life and ecosystems. In just a few years, the young field of ocean acidification research has expanded rapidly – progressing from short-term experiments on single species to complex, long-term studies that encompass interactions across interdependent species.
The Senate Oceans Caucus and U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Association hosted a briefing on Thursday to address advances in ocean observing and technology that are important to national security, the economy, and environmental health.
Scientists at Caltech and USC have discovered a way to speed up the slow part of the chemical reaction that ultimately helps Earth to safely lock away, or sequester, carbon dioxide into the ocean. Simply adding a common enzyme to the mix, the researchers have found, can make that rate-limiting part of the process go 500 times faster. A paper about the work appears online the week of July 17 ahead of publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
University of Adelaide researchers have for the first time demonstrated that the ocean acidification expected in the future will reduce fish diversity significantly, with small 'weedy' species dominating marine environments. Published today in Current Biology, the researchers studied species interactions in natural marine environments at underwater volcanic vents, where concentrations of CO2 match those predicted for oceans at the end of the century. They were compared with adjacent marine environments with current CO2 levels.
If there is anywhere for carbon dioxide to disappear in large quantities from the atmosphere, it is into the Earth's oceans. There, huge populations of plankton can soak up carbon dioxide from surface waters and gobble it up as a part of photosynthesis, generating energy for their livelihood.
Coral reefs are sprawling, intricate ecosystems that house an estimated 25 percent of all marine life and can sometimes be seen from space. Yet they are formed by a process invisible to us. A study published in Science on Wednesday now presents a microscopic picture of the biology that makes corals’ skeletons grow. The findings suggest that coral may be more robust in the face of human-driven ocean acidification than commonly thought. Corals grow their armor by diligently secreting a chunk of hard skeleton smaller than the width of a human hair each day. This process is called calcification and scientists have debated which parts of it are most important for decades.
A three-year survey of the California Current System along the West Coast of the United States found persistent, highly acidified water throughout this ecologically critical nearshore habitat, with "hotspots" of pH measurements as low as any oceanic surface waters in the world. The researchers say that conditions will continue to worsen because the atmospheric carbon dioxide primarily to blame for this increase in acidification has been rising substantially in recent years.
(Click to enlarge) A number of new bills introduced in this Congress were of relevance to the ocean science community. One relates to ocean acification research.(Credit: NOAA) In a scene more appropriate for a college laboratory than the Capitol building (lab safety protocols aside), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) measured pH on the Senate [...]
One of the most talked-about consequences of climate change is ocean acidification, which particularly threatens creatures that build shells. But there's another big problem in the ocean's chemistry that's beginning to get out of control: oxygen. Even though they live underwater, fish breathe oxygen just like we do. Their gills pull dissolved oxygen out of the water. But the warmer the ocean's water gets, the less dissolved oxygen it can hold. It's basically the underwater equivalent of a human panting in the thin air on a mountaintop.