Published 7 May 2013
Education , Science
In an era of heightened competition for scarce research positions and funding, the mantra of modern academia—“publish or perish”—continues to intensify . Scientists are under increasing pressure to produce as many publications as possible in “high-impact” journals to raise their profile among peers and influence their discipline. Yet, in recent years, another measure of significance also has been on the rise—one that focuses on a scientist’s reach beyond their field and captures societal impact .
More than a decade ago, Jane Lubchenco (a marine ecologist who recently stepped down as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) codified the idea of a “new social contract for science” . She asserted that society expects two outcomes from its investment of public funds in science: “the production of the best possible science and the production of something useful.” Lubchenco challenged scientists to consider not only making their research relevant to today’s most pressing problems, but also to embrace their responsibility to share their findings. She urged them to invoke “the full power of the scientific enterprise in communicating existing and new understanding to the public and to policymakers, and in helping society move toward sustainability through a better understanding of the consequences of policy action—or inactions.”
Continue reading ‘COMPASS: navigating the rules of scientific engagement’
Published 19 April 2013
Education , Media coverage
BLAINE – Kylie Crawford held her nose as she blew into a straw dipped in purple water for her classroom’s study of ocean acidification.
The distilled water was colored by the red cabbage that had been boiled in it. Judging by Kylie, and the reaction of the other students in her fifth-grade class at Blaine Elementary School, the smell of the bubbling water was off-putting.
But the cabbage water was there to help the students see what happens when carbon dioxide – from their breath as they blow into the straw – dissolves in the small amount of water. It makes acid, which turns the liquid’s color in their cups from purple to pink.
Continue reading ‘Blaine fifth-graders learn impact of pollution on marine habitat’
Ocean acidification refers to a reduction in the pH of ocean water, caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but also by other chemical additions or subtractions from the ocean.
For many years, carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere has been increasing. Regardless of the reasons for this increase, the ocean is a “sink” for CO2, so as levels of atmospheric CO2 have increased, dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean has increased as well.
When CO2 is absorbed by seawater, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH, carbonate ion concentration, and saturation states of biologically important calcium carbonate minerals. These chemical reactions are termed “ocean acidification.”
Continue reading ‘Ocean Explorer: What is ocean acidification?’
Published 11 February 2013
Education , Web sites and blogs
This fall, COSEE-West organized and presented a workshop (Ocean Acidification Workshop: Using What Works) for teachers that integrated a suite of models and approaches that had been developed over its 10-year tenure. The workshop included structural components from lectures, workshops, courses, classes, and partnerships that have proven valuable for communicating ocean science to educators. The various components complemented one another and the new structure of the workshop proved to be a practical and versatile design.
Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification workshop: using what works’
Published 14 January 2013
Education , Meetings
After the September “Oceans in a High-CO2 World” Meeting in Monterey, CA, the NOAA West Coast National Marine Sanctuaries hosted a workshop titled “Effective Practices for Communicating Ocean Acidification.” This workshop brought together scientists, educators, and communications experts from federal agencies, academia and research, aquariums and museums, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other organizations to discuss key messages, tools, and case studies to use when educating the public about OA.
Continue reading ‘Effective practices for communicating ocean acidification – workshop summary’
Published 28 December 2012
Education , Web sites and blogs
Water supply acidification can have drastic consequences for survival of some plant and animal species.
- Humans burning of fossil fuels contribute to ocean acidification.
- When fuels are burned, CO2 is produced. The ocean absorbs approximately 25% of the CO2 produced through the burning of fossil fuels.
- The decreasing pH of the ocean through carbonic acid formation is known as ocean acidification.
- New research suggests that the ocean’s pH will decrease by an additional .03 to 0.5 pH units before the end of the century.
- Fossil fuel burning also creates a large amount of sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides. These compounds form strong acids when they react with water.
- If sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides react with water in the air, a strong acid is formed and can fall to the ground as rain or snow. This is referred to as acid precipitation, which is when rain, snow, or fog has a pH of 5.2 or lower. A pH of 5.6 is normal for uncontaminated rain.
Continue reading ‘Water quality is threatened by acidification’
Published 12 December 2012
Education , Science
BIOACID has published instructions for eight experiments on ocean acidification. The brochure addresses students and teachers and is now available in English.
Continue reading ‘BIOACID experiments for school teachers now available in English’