Posted on December 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Some Arctic-dwelling copepods may not be able to survive increasingly acidic oceans.
“Some marine animals may not be able to survive the impact of ocean acidification … ‘
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Marine organisms with a limited natural habitat range will likely suffer the most as oceans become more acidic. Among the first to go may be tiny copepods in the Arctic Ocean living just beneath the surface. The crustaceans are a critical part of the ocean food web, helping to sustain many other animals.
“Our study found that some marine animals may not be able to survive the impact of ocean acidification, particularly the early-life stages,” said Dr, Ceri Lewis, with the University of Exeter. “This unique insight into how marine life will respond to future changes in the oceans has implications that reach far beyond the Arctic regions.”
The recent findings on ocean acidification impacts came from a research expedition conducted as part of the Catlin Arctic Survey. The study found that copepods that move large distances, migrating vertically across a wide range of pH conditions, have a better chance of surviving. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 20, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Research shows direct impact on sea urchin larvae
Ocean acidification is affecting a wide range of marine organisms, from sea snails and oysters to clownfish and sea urchins. PHOTO COURTESY NICK HOBGOOD, VIA THE CREATIVE COMMONS.
By Summit Voice
*More Summit Voice coverage of ocean acidification is online here.
FRISCO — Sea urchins may be a canary in the coalmine for the impacts of ocean acidification, according to new research, which shows that the digestive function of the marine animals is impaired by acidified water.
About 25 percent of all the CO2 released into the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans and converted to carbonic acid, making the water more acidic. Previous studies have showed that marine species and ecosystems can suffer in an acidified environment.
In one research project, scientists with the British Antarctic Survey showed how acidic water in the Southern Ocean is eating away at the shells of sea snails, and other research shows that the Arctic Ocean may be ground zero of acidification. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: global warming, ocean acidification, oceans | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Coral reef erosion is likely to outpace reef building this century
The acidity of the world’s oceans could increase by 170 percent by the end of the century, as greenhouse gas emissions continue nearly unabated. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The legacy of historical fossil fuel emissions on ocean acidification will be felt for centuries, an international team of scientists concluded in a new report, warning that the world needs to prepare for major losses of ecosystem services.
If carbon dioxide emissions continue on their current trajectory, the acidity of the world’s oceans may increase by around 170 percent by the end of the century, the report found. People who rely on the ocean’s ecosystem services — often in developing countries — are especially vulnerable.
“What we can now say with high levels of confidence about ocean acidification sends a clear message,” said Ulf Riebesell, of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. “Globally we have to be prepared for significant economic and ecosystem service losses. But we also know that reducing the rate of carbon dioxide emissions will slow acidification. That has to be the major message for the COP19 meeting.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: CO2 emissions, COP 19, global warming, greenhouse gases, International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, ocean acidification | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation group eyes Clean Water Act as tool in climate fight
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — It’s not clear if anything — besides massive cuts in carbon dioxide emissions — can stop the acidification of oceans, but the Center for Biological Diversity would at least like to see the EPA try to water quality standards as a way to tackle the problem.
The conservation group last week filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to address ocean acidification that may already be killing oysters in Oregon and Washington and threatening a wide range of other sea life. The lawsuit challenges the EPA’s decision that seawaters in those two states meet water-quality standards meant to protect marine life despite disturbing increases in acidity. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Act, climate change, CO2, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Widespread impacts expected by the end of the century
A rapidly melting glacier on Deception Island, near Antarctica, pours fresh water into the ocean. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A warming climate will fundamentally change nearly all the world’s oceans by the end of the century, researchers warned this week. In addition to oft-discussed impacts of warmer water temperatures and ocean acidification, climate change will also deplete dissolved oxygen and lower the overall productivity of marine ecosystems.
“When you look at the world ocean, there are few places that will be free of changes; most will suffer the simultaneous effects of warming, acidification, and reductions in oxygen and productivity,” said lead author Camilo Mora, assistant professor at the Department of Geography in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
The study described the full chain of events by which ocean biogeochemical changes triggered by manmade greenhouse gas emissions may cascade through marine habitats and organisms, penetrating to the deep ocean and eventually influencing humans. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: climate change, global warming, ocean acidification, oceans | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Elkhorn corals in the Caribbean are feeling the heat of global warming. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Fisheries Service gets deadline for recovery plan under court settlement
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Two key coral species around Florida need even more TLC than previously thought, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which wants to reclassify elkhorn and staghorn corals from “threatened” to the even more serious category of “endangered” because of their rapid decline.
The agency also agree to speed up finalization of a recovery plan under a court settlement that sets a 2014 deadline. These corals were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2006 because of threats from global warming and ocean acidification but, before today’s settlement agreement, had still not received the legally required recovery plan needed to save them from extinction. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, global warming, biodiversity, endangered species, climate and weather, coral reefs | Tagged: Environment, global warming, endangered species act, ocean acidification, Caribbean, coral reefs, oceans, national marine fisheries service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Evidence is growing that increasing levels of CO2 are going to have a fundamental impact on ocean plankton.
Changes likely to reduce oceans’ capacity to absorb carbon dioxide
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — In the great global warming experiment there will be winners and losers, and it looks like some of the tiniest plankton species will be among the winners — probably at the expense of larger species higher up the food chain.
Research off the coast of Svalbard, Norway in 2010 showed that the smallest plankton groups thrive at elevated carbon dioxide levels.
This could cause an imbalance in the food web as well as a decrease ocean CO2 uptake, an important regulator of global climate. The results of the study have been published in Biogeosciences, a journal of the European Geosciences Union. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, carbon dioxide, ocean acidification, Plankton, Svalbard | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘Nowhere on Earth have we documented such large scale, rapid ocean acidification’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The steady decline of Arctic sea is speeding ocean acidification, researchers reported this week in PLoS One, describing their findings after extensive water sampling in the region.
“A remarkable 20 percent of the Canadian Basin has become more corrosive to carbonate minerals in an unprecedented short period of time. Nowhere on Earth have we documented such large scale, rapid ocean acidification,” said lead researcher and ocean acidification project chief, U.S. Geological Survey oceanographer Lisa Robbins.
The research showed that the rapid pace of sea ice decline may be contributing directly to increasing acidification by exposing more of the ocean to atmospheric carbon dioxide. The impacts are intensified further by the diluting effect of melting ice. The freshwater further lowers pH levels and reducing the concentrations of calcium and carbonate, which may impact the growth of organisms that many species rely on for food. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, greenhouse gases, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: carbon dioxide, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Changes most pronounced in tropics and high latitudes
Ocean experts say global warming could put entire regional economies at risk because of changes in marine life. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — It may sound like a no-brainer, but a new report makes it clear that global warming is already affecting ocean life, in some cases to a significant degree. Those impacts are expected to increase in the coming years, putting marine resources —and the people and economies that depend on them — at high risk in a changing world.
The report was prepared as part of the 2013 National Climate Assessment and identifies the greatest impacts in tropical and high latitudes, as well as dramatic shifts in species distributions and range, and impacts on survival, growth and reproduction as some of the key threats. The research also shows that climate change interacts with other stressors, usually making things worse. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change impacts, global warming, greenhouse gases, national climate assessment, ocean acidification | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
British Antarctic Survey scientists documented how increasingly corrosive water affects the shells of pteropods. Photo courtesy BAS.
German researchers see “ominous change” in increasing CO2 levels
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — There’s no question that the rapid acidification of the oceans will disrupt ecosystems and perhaps even wipe out some of the most sensitive species, including some shellfish.
British Antarctic Survey researchers last year showed how corrosive waters in the southern Ocean is destroying sea snail shells. Other studies suggest mussel beds in the Pacific Northwest may also be feeling the impacts, as the oceans absorb and process anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
As the atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in water, it forms carbonic acid and causes the pH value of the oceans to drop, posing challenges for many species that live on the cusp of a delicate chemical balance. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification, oceans | 2 Comments »