Marine Conservation Biology Institute Marine Conservation Biology Institute
   
Marine Conservation Biology Institute
Protecting Marine Ecosystems

Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

A radar station
Predicted surface air tempurature increase from 1960 - 2060.
Image: Nasa

Climate change is a real and serious problem to our Earth as we know it. Greenhouse gas emissions are having a myriad of adverse effects that not only affect the atmosphere, but are also harmful to the ocean environment. In polar regions such as the Arctic, a degree can mean the difference between ice and water. The melting of the ice itself also contributes to global warming as white ice, which reflects heat back into space, is replaced by darker ocean, which absorbs heat. This makes the ocean, and in turn the Earth, even warmer.

The ocean is also a very good sink for carbon dioxide (CO2), and as more CO2 is produced by humans driving cars and heating homes, more is released into the atmosphere, and more is absorbed by the oceans. Our ocean is actually becoming more acidic due to the large amounts of CO2 it absorbs, a process called ocean acidification. This change in ocean chemistry weakens corals and other skeleton-building organisms including many species of plankton, similar to how osteoporosis weakens bones in humans. Ocean acidification and global warming are wreaking havoc on coral reefs around the world as ocean acidification weakens their coral skeletons and warmer ocean waters which causes coral bleaching, where symbiotic algae leaves their coral hosts, depriving corals of essential nutrients. Ocean acidification is also upsetting ocean ecosystems, as the organisms at the bottom of many food chains are having trouble growing and reproducing, which can have disastrous consequences on up the food chain, including affecting many important fisheries. MCBI is working on getting a better understanding ocean acidification and its implications and bringing knowledge of this crisis to political and scientific leaders as well as the general public.

 

Our Work on Climate Change and Ocean Acidification:

afterOcean Acidification- From Ecological Impacts to Political Opportunitites - MCBI publishes an entire issue of Current on Ocean Acidification.

 

afterLetter to the EPA on Ocean Acidification - MCBI and 31 other organizations wrote a letter to the EPA asking them to address ocean acidification through the Clean Water Act.

 

OA mapOcean Acidification - What a more acidic ocean means to marine life.

coralDeep-Sea Corals - Protecting deep-sea corals from ocean acidification.

s2ssOcean Acidification and Its Potential Effects on Marine Ecosystems - A journal article in Ecology and Conservation Biology.

after2008 AAAS Symposium - Ocean Iron Fertilization and Carbon Sequestration:
Can the Oceans Save the Planet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Projects:

Ocean Acidification- From Ecological Impacts to Political Opportunitites

EPA and Ocean Acidification

Ocean Acidification

2008 AAAS Symposium

Deep-Sea Corals

Ocean Acidification and Its Potential Effects on Marine Ecosystems