COMPASS brought together 22 scientific leaders studying ocean acidification (OA) for an intensive communication workshop preceding the Third International Ocean in a HIgh-CO2 World Sympsium in Monterey, CA. Our goals were to help scientists to 1) crystallize their core messages to more effectively communicate their individual research, as well as the state of the science as a whole; 2) better understand each other’s work to catalyze new collaborations and build community; and 3) identify their stories that bring this science to light to answer the tough questions that policy makers and the public want to know: “So what? Why does this matter? And, what should we do about it?”
Archive for October 1st, 2012
Ocean acidification and the end-Permian mass extinction: to what extent does evidence support hypothesis?Published 1 October 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Ocean acidification in modern oceans is linked to rapid increase in atmospheric CO2, raising concern about marine diversity, food security and ecosystem services. Proxy evidence for acidification during past crises may help predict future change, but three issues limit confidence of comparisons between modern and ancient ocean acidification, illustrated from the end-Permian extinction, 252 million years ago: (1) problems with evidence for ocean acidification preserved in sedimentary rocks, where proposed marine dissolution surfaces may be subaerial. Sedimentary evidence that the extinction was partly due to ocean acidification is therefore inconclusive; (2) Fossils of marine animals potentially affected by ocean acidification are imperfect records of past conditions; selective extinction of hypercalcifying organisms is uncertain evidence for acidification; (3) The current high rates of acidification may not reflect past rates, which cannot be measured directly, and whose temporal resolution decreases in older rocks. Thus large increases in CO2 in the past may have occurred over a long enough time to have allowed assimilation into the oceans, and acidification may not have stressed ocean biota to the present extent. Although we acknowledge the very likely occurrence of past ocean acidification, obtaining support presents a continuing challenge for the Earth science community.
This is a guest post from my colleague Beatrice Cronaat the Stockholm Resilience Center.
During the past week I have spent my days wrapping my head around complex climate and ocean models during the Third symposium on Oceans in a High-CO2 World (23-27th Sept 2012) where I had been invited to give a plenary on ‘Governance in the context of ocean acidification’, based on work done together with my colleagues Victor Galaz, Henrik Österblom, Per Olsson, and Carl Folke as well as others at the Stockholm Resilience Center.
The world’s coral reefs have become a zombie ecosystem, neither dead nor truly alive, and are on a trajectory to collapse within a human generation according to an academic from The Australian National University.
Professor Roger Bradbury, an ecologist from the Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, said overfishing, ocean acidification and pollution are pushing coral reefs into oblivion.
The presentations from the plenary sessions of the Third symposium on the ocean in a high-CO2 world, held in Monterey CA last week, are available online.
Human-generated carbon emissions are making the ocean more acidic, which has become a cause for concern to the fishing industry and scientists.
Grand Valley State University professor of geology, Figen Mekik, has received an $87,087 grant from the National Science Foundation to explore ocean acidification, more commonly known as “the other carbon dioxide problem,” Mekik said.
“Seawater becomes more and more acidic as more and more carbon dioxide is added to it,” Mekik said. “In laymen’s terms, we call this carbonation. Carbonated beverages are bad for one’s teeth because carbon dioxide plus water makes carbonic acid. And that is what is happening on a large scale in the oceans today.”
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– UC Santa Barbara is part of a West Coast network of researchers that has received a grant of nearly $1.1 million from the National Science Foundation to analyze the ecological and biological response to ocean acidification in the California Current System.
With increasing levels of carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere and moving into marine systems, the world’s oceans are becoming more acidic.
“The big question is whether species will be able to adapt to future levels of ocean acidification,” said Gretchen Hofmann, a marine biologist and professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology.
A public forum about ocean health in Oregon
What are the phenomena of ocean acidification and coastal hypoxia? What is causing them? What are their likely impacts on marine species and coastal communities, and what can be done to minimize these impacts? Come and learn the answers to these questions, and about the cutting-edge research being conducted through presentations by scientists from Oregon State University, management agencies, and industry. Following the presentations, a panel of experts will answer your questions, and will discuss what individuals, communities, and government agencies can do to reduce and manage impacts.