Report says ocean acidification likely to take a big economic toll on coastal communities

New England, Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic regions all vulnerable to ocean acidification threats

Love oysters? Then you should be worried about global warming.

Love oysters? Then you should be worried about global warming. bberwyn photo

Staff Report

FRISCO — Some coastal communities with long traditions of relying on shellfish to support their economies could be facing a triple whammy of pollution.

Increasing ocean acidification, combined with cold, upwelling water and polluted runoff from land could put many of those communities at long-term economic risk, according to a new study funded by the National Science Foundation’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.

“Ocean acidification has already cost the oyster industry in the Pacific Northwest nearly $110 million and jeopardized about 3,200 jobs,” said Julie Ekstrom, who was lead author on the study while with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She is now at the University of California at Davis. Continue reading

Oceans: Biologists report progress on abalone restoration

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A world without abalone?

Improved hatchery spawning and rearing may help rebuild populations

Staff Report

FRISCO — West Coast fisheries biologists say they’re making progress toward restoring abalone populations with improved laboratory spawning and rearing. If the shellfish can withstand the effects of ocean acidification, resource managers may be able to rebuild populations off the coast of California. Continue reading

Global warming could starve oceans of oxygen

‘Our modern ocean is moving into a state that has no precedent in human history’

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A melting glacier on Deception Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula, discharges sediments into the Southern Ocean. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — If climate clues from ages gone by are any indication, then the world’s oceans could see an abrupt, extensive loss of oxygen as the atmosphere warms and ice sheets melt.

That’s exactly what happened about 10,000 to 17,000 years ago, according to new research by scientists with the University of California, Davis, who analyzed marine sediment cores from different world regions to document the extent to which low oxygen zones in the ocean have expanded in the past, due to climate change. Continue reading

Climate: Is the Great Barrier Reef doomed?

New study projects staggering coral losses as oceans warm

Coral Gardens: A school of surgeonfish cruise coral reefs near Palmyra Atoll.

A school of surgeonfish cruise coral reefs in the Pacific. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

*More Summit Voice reporting on coral reefs

FRISCO —Even under a moderate climate change scenario, with just 1 to 2 degrees Celsius warming, the Great Barrier Reef may be doomed to become just a shadow of itself within a few decades, researcher said this week, warning of the cumulative impacts of warmer water, acidification, pollution and over-fishing.

In the short term, the combined effects of those impacts enable seaweed to over-run corals, in effect suffocating them. In the longer term, interactions among reef organisms would lead to dominance by other groups, including sponges and soft corals known as gorgonians. Continue reading

Antarctic sea urchins can handle some global warming

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Antarctic sea urchins may be able to adapt to global warming. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Lab testing measures response to rising temps, increasing acidification

Staff Report

FRISCO — Sea urchins around the Antarctic Peninsula are able to adapt to  warmer and more acidic seawater conditions expected by the end of the century, at least in a laboratory setting.

The study, led by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey and Bangor University, involved collecting 288 sea urchins and and transporting them to the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. Continue reading

Climate: Increasing CO2 killing oyster larvae

Love oysters? Then you should be worried about global warming.

Love oysters? Then you should be worried about global warming and ocean acidification. bberwyn photo.

Natural buffering can’t keep up with increasing ocean acidification

Staff Report

FRISCO — Oysters at their earliest stages of development are already feeling the impacts of ocean acidification, scientists said this week, explaining that oyster larvae are sensitive to saturation state, rather than carbon dioxide or pH per se.

The saturation state is a measure of how corrosive seawater is to the calcium carbonate shells made by bivalve larvae, and how easy it is for larvae to produce their shells. A lower saturation rate is associated with more corrosive seawater. Continue reading

Can some Caribbean corals survive global warming?

Coral and other marine resources in the Florida Keys are at risk from an approaching oil plume.

Some corals are less sensitive to ocean acidification than others, according to a new study. Photo via NOAA.

Study say soft Gorgonian coral species can still calcify under elevated CO2 levels

Staff Report

FRISCO — Not all corals are equal when it comes to withstanding the ravages of global warming.

Some Caribbean soft corals, known as gorgonians, may be able to calcify and grow under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations. Those corals may be more resilient to the ocean acidification levels projected by the end of the 21st century than previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Coral Reef. Continue reading

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