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Ocean Acidification

This category contains 20 posts
Figure 1: A venomous cone snail that lives in tropical reef systems. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ocean acidification makes predators dumb

Chemistry is important for a lot of things, but can it change the behavior of animals? Read on to find out how changes in water chemistry alter the behavior of a venomous cone snail!

Figure 2: Kavachi Eruption: Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2002: Explorer Ridge. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/May_14_Kavachi_eruption.jpg

Sharkcano, a melting pot for biology

No, a Sharkcano is not a volcano that erupts sharks. IT IS WAY COOLER THAN THAT! It is a submarine volcano that hosts a diverse macro community in water that is much warmer and more acidic that the surrounding seawater. Read more to find out about this alien-esc ecosystem in the South Pacific Ocean.

Figure 1 – Trematode parasites in an unshelled California horn snail.  The normal horn snail (top) has orange tissue that produces sperm.  The infected horn snail (bottom) has none of that orange tissue and is instead used as a resource for the trematode parasite.  Source: https://www.sciencenews.org/sites/default/files/8417

Can being sick be a good thing for surviving ocean acidification?

Scientists (myself included!) have been doing a lot of work on how marine animals respond to rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, but CO2 alone isn’t the only problem. This study looks at how having a parasite affects survival in marine snails exposed to high CO2 – do they survive longer in those conditions with or without a bunch of parasites? Read on for a surprising answer!

A snapping shrimp seen here with a mutualist friend, a goby. Photo by: Haplochromis - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=880768

Going Mute: Ocean acidification silences shrimp snaps

Coastal areas could fall silent in the next century as ocean acidification alters and affects the natural soundscapes of the oceans. Intrigued? Click here to read more!

Figure 2 – Nomura’s jellyfish blooming in Japan and clogging fishing nets.

Are marine “nuisance” species expected to increase under ocean acidification?

Most studies that look at how animals respond to climate change look at species we like – oysters, corals, and whales are just a few examples. The authors of this review looked at something else – how are the species we hate going to respond to climate change, specifically ocean acidification? Read on to find out!

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Rapid changes in the Southern Ocean threaten ecosystems

Rapid acidification of the Southern Ocean could occur in the next 30 years with potentially huge impacts to local ecosystems.

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Wanderings through the Western Society of Naturalists

Takeaways and notes from Sacramento and a jam-packed Western Society of Naturalists meeting!

Fig. 3: Sarpa salpa, an herbivorous fish observed in this study (project aware.org).

Diversity and its role in combating the effects of climate change

In the battle against climate change, ecosystems need to get down with diversity.

http://www.sportdiver.com/article/news/global-reef-expeditions-assess-coral-reef-health

How a whole reef community’s response to OA is impacted by the individual responses of different players

Researchers from California used a unique ex situ experiment to monitor two near identical reef communities in different concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide to observe the unique responses of community members and their roles in the whole community response.

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Decalcifying Calcidiscus: An effect of ocean acidification on plankton

The vastness of the ocean can be deceptive–you’d think that only big things would have an impact on something the size of an ocean. That’s not always the case, though. Sometimes the smallest organisms can influence huge, global processes. But one such small organism is faced with harsher conditions these days and isn’t faring too well. Read more to find out!

Red Rock Shrimp (Lysmata Californica).  Credit: D.D.Deheyn and M.C.Allen.

Ocean acidification may make “peekaboo” harder for shrimp

What happens to a shrimp’s shell when exposed to more acidic conditions? Read more to find out!

Figure 1 - Giant Clam

Giant Clams Catch a Giant Break

Most of today’s research into the effects of climate change and ocean acidification is all doom and gloom: this animal and that ecosystem are developmentally challenged as a result of warming temperatures and lowered pH. This new study out of Australia is a rare bit of good news in the field, finding that giant clams (important economically for food and tourism) might escape the worst effects of ocean acidification thanks to their symbiotic bacteria.

Source: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Path of Corrosion: How Scientists Modeled Ancient Sea-Floor Acidity

Today, we see a rapid release of CO2 to the atmosphere associated with climate change. The same was true 55 million years ago during the PETM, a time when – sediment records show – there was pervasive carbonate dissolution along the sea floor. But it was not the same pattern everywhere. Scientists attempt to model these spatial varieties and explain what occurred.

Fig. 2: Cold-water corals found in the deeper parts of the ocean (Source: NERC).

Consummate Corals: resilience in an acidifying ocean

Gloom and doom has been the dominant message associated with climate change. However, it is important to remember that when faced with change, not all species and ecosystems are created equal. Recently, researchers have found that several species of cold-water corals are quite resilient to ocean acidification.

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Sea urchins work harder, faster to cope with ocean acidification

The ability of sea urchins to withstand ocean acidification comes at a hidden cost.

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Highlights from the National Shellfisheries Meeting

Ever wanted to know what it’s like to go to a scientific conference? Here’s a summary of what conferences are all about, plus the four most interesting talks I saw at this year’s National Shellfisheries Association meeting.

Figure 2: Coral gardening- pieces of coral are harvested off of healthy reefs and allowed to grow before being transplanted to a degraded reef habitat.

Coral Reef Restoration Through Human-Assisted Evolution

Coral reefs populations are declining. Is it possible that we could help restore coral reefs by speeding up their evolutionary processes? Researchers propose new management strategies for aiding reef restoration by accelerating the natural processes of evolution.

Figure 1: Changes in seawater chemistry from the 1800s to 2100 (projected) and impacts on marine calcifiers (organisms that deposit calcium salts in their body tissues) © Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.

Like father, like son? Is survival under ocean acidification heritable?

Can marine life adapt to ocean acidification? Well, first we need to understand if these favourable characteristics (survival under elevated CO2 conditions) are genetically determined and can be passed on to the offspring!

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Macrobioerosion rates and what they mean for reefs

Today macrobioerosion is a good thing that provides cement for the foundation of reef systems. So more macrobioerosion could mean more reefs, right? No! Perhaps too much of a good thing could have dire consequences for the future of the calcium carbonate budget.

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Damselfish in distress: on ocean acidification and suicidal reef fish

Fish are rebelling. What’s the cause?

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