ocean-acidification

Let's get one thing straight:

Badlands National Park is not in defiance of the president, they are in support of the American People. They don’t work for him, they work for US. Climate change is a direct threat to our national resources, and the most severe threat facing our parks today. This is not a political issue, this is not Democrats vs. Republicans, this is data-backed endangerment of our open spaces and federal lands. If a building is deemed structurally unsound, you fix it, you don’t claim that scientists are lying to you about serious fatigue in the load-bearing members, or else it comes crashing down around you. Climate change is no different, nobody has ever tried to claim that forest fires are a myth invented by the Chinese.

What’s one of the noisiest animals in the ocean? The snapping shrimp! 

These tiny, two-inch animals make a big sound by quickly shutting their snapper claws and releasing a bubble at up to 60 miles per hour. Snapping shrimp like this one can often be heard at Stetson Bank in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. They use their loud snaps to communicate, defend their territory, and in some cases, to stun or kill their prey. Other marine animals use the snapping sound as a cue about ocean conditions and resources. 

Unfortunately, ocean acidification can significantly reduce the sound level and frequency of these shrimps’ snaps. When humans burn fossil fuels like oil and gas, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Some of that carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean and changes the ocean’s chemistry. This changing chemistry seems to be changing snapping shrimps’ behavior, causing them to snap less frequently. You can help the snapping shrimp and the animals that depend on their sounds by working with your community to reduce the amount of fossil fuels you use. What steps will you take to help these noisy little shrimp? 

(Photo: Paul Caiger)

"Save the reef, eat lionfish!"

OR, save the reef, stop polluting them with your fucking livestock and causing dead zones, fishing to extinction, and bleaching coral and acidifying the oceans with the methane emissions from your fucking livestock.

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BLEACHING AFFECTS 93% OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

Aerial checks of more than 900 individual reefs showed the spread varies dramatically along its 2,300 kilometres, from 90 per cent north of Port Douglas to less than 10 per cent south of Mackay.  

Coral bleaching is when abnormal environmental conditions cause coral to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae. Loss of colourful algae causes coral to turn white and “bleach” -Bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and zooxanthellae are able to recolonise them, otherwise it may die.

The Great Barrier Reef has been threatened with mass bleaching due to weather conditions El Niño and the rapid climate change. 

The southern third of the Great Barrier Reef fortunately cooled down late in summer due to ex-cyclone Winston. Researchers expect the central and southern corals to regain their colour and recover over the next few months

rollingstone.com
The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here
The worst predicted impacts of climate change are starting to happen — and much faster than climate scientists expected

It is important that you understand the seriousness of this situation.  Though there is extensive coverage in print and online media, climate change gets less press than celebrity diet secrets and rap feuds.  Write to your senators and congressmen.  Sign petitions.  Organize and take part in demonstrations.  Activism is important.  

We are not going to save everything.  The world is going to change.  People are dying and will continue to die.  Property will be destroyed, possibly whole cities.  Some species will go extinct. We need to act now, and pressure our elected officials to pass serious legislation to mitigate climate change.  We don’t have to lose everything.

Sharing and liking tumblr posts isn’t enough. You must do more.

What is Ocean Acidification?

Carbon is one of the most important elements on Earth. It can be found everywhere, yet less than 0.04% of it is in the atmosphere. Most of it is absorbed and stored. One of the most important methods of carbon storage is absorption by the ocean. Dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean is necessary for marine organisms to build their calcium carbonate shells.

When carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean, it forms carbonic acid. When carbonic acid, or any acid, breaks down, it releases hydrogen ions. An increased concentration of hydrogen ions will in turn decrease the pH of the ocean, making it more acidic.

Carbonic acid breaks down into positively charged hydrogen ions and negatively charged bicarbonates. Bicarbonate ions then break down further into more hydrogen ions and carbonate ions. Marine organisms use carbonate ions to build their calcium carbonate shells.

Without the added input of extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and thus in the ocean, this process works out smoothly, maintaining a balance. But extra carbon dioxide upsets the chemistry of the absorption process.

More carbon dioxide in the water means more hydrogen ions are present. These ions react with carbonate ions to form bicarbonates before the carbonate ions can be absorbed and used. Even worse, when the level of carbon dioxide reaches a certain threshold, the calcium carbonate these marine organisms need actually begins to dissolve.

There are many possible effects of ocean acidification, and none of them are good. Right now, the pH of the ocean is approximately 8.1. This is alkaline, which means it is more basic than pure water (due to the dissolved particles in seawater). The current concentration of carbon dioxide in our seawater is about 390 ppm. The concentration at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, around 250 years ago (a very short time in the grand scheme of things), was only 280 ppm.

It gets worse: scientists estimate as early as the year 2100, concentrations could reach as high as 2000 ppm. This surpasses the threshold where calcium carbonate begins to dissolve. Additionally, the pH of ocean water by the year 2100, less than a century from now, is estimated to be 7.7. Ocean acidification is not happening at a steady rate; it is increasing exponentially.

Increased acidity means that marine organisms will lose their shells. Coral reefs will die out. Experiments performed on sea urchins have shown a 25% decrease in reproductive ability at the pH of 7.7. This means approximately a 25% reduction in the population of marine life overall is possible.

Not only is it very possible, but it could happen less than a century from now. And at the increasing rate we are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, this catastrophic future for our ocean is becoming more and more likely.

MARINE BACTERIA HEAVILY AFFECTED BY OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

Bacteria in our oceans play a crucial role in the global cycle of elements necessary to lifeThey act as the primary degraders of organic material produced through photosynthesis of microscopic algae in the ocean, or material released through wastewater. When algae or other organisms die and are degraded by bacteria, at the same time the bacteria mediate the release of elements like nitrogen or phosphorous that are essential to the food chain

Researchers can now show marine bacteria exposed to acidification are forced to significantly alter their metabolism; from focusing on degradation to investing energy on dealing with the acid in the water. The results were published in the journal Nature Climate Change.  

The result of the study conducted by researchers from Spain, Sweden and Germany, indicates that bacterioplankton adaptation to ocean acidification could have long-term effects on the economy of ocean ecosystems. Bacteria in the sea play a critical role in determining the health of marine ecosystems. For example, in addition to degradation, bacteria synthesize vitamins on which algae and other organisms in the sea depend. 

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION CAN HINDER  REPRODUCTIVE HABITS

Ocean acidification is predicted to have detrimental effects on many marine organisms and ecological processes. Despite growing evidence for direct impacts on specific species, few studies have simultaneously considered the effects of ocean acidification on individuals (e.g. consequences for energy budgets and resource partitioning) and population level demographic processes.

A new study claims that the acidification of the ocean could be negatively altering the population dynamics of marine species and preventing them from being able to adapt to future climate change. In particular, the study examines the gastropod banded dye-murex (Hexaplex trunculus), a widespread Mediterranean mollusc.  and its response to ocean acidification over numerous generations, and found that they trade-off the maintenance of their shells in order to compensate for the living conditions of acidified oceans, which poses a higher cost of living.

UK researchers  discovered that that these changes to the energy budget may not be the same for males and females, and at a population-level, those individuals contributing to reproduction change year-on-year, resulting in a genetic drift that could hinder the potential for genetic adaptation to ocean acidification

Acclimatization can buffer populations against the immediate impacts of ocean acidification, and even provide time for adaptation (…) However, it can also result in stress-induced energetic trade-offs, and unless organisms can compensate for the extra costs caused by ocean acidification, then they may suffer negative consequences in the form of reduced growth, development and reproduction. said Samuel Rastrick, who participated in the research.

Even against a background of high gene flow, ocean acidification is driving individual- and population-level changes that will impact eco-evolutionary trajectories.

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A short video about ocean acidification. Quite informative.

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~ A great video that explains Ocean Acidification in 3 minutes.

Acidification harms marine creatures that rely on calcium carbonate to build coral reefs and shells, as well as plankton, and the fish that rely on them. Jane Lubchenco, former director of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a marine biologist, said the effects were already being felt in some oyster fisheries, where young larvae were failing to develop properly in areas where the acid rates are higher, such as on the west coast of the US. “You can actually see this happening,” she said. “It’s not something a long way into the future. It is a very big problem.”

this scares me the most about what’s going on with all the carbon we are putting into the atmosphere. everyone thinks the ocean is supposed to save us but the ocean can only soak up so much CO2. and the more CO2 the ocean takes up, the more acidic it becomes, which causes calcium carbonate to precipitate into calcium ions and carbonate ions.

which means bye-bye coral reef skeletons, and bye-bye anything with a shell. :(

this literally makes me tear up to think about. humans destroy everything.

Warming Oceans May Threaten Krill, a Cornerstone of the Antarctic Ecosystem

“Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the water mean greater levels of ocean acidification,” Dr. Kawaguchi, whose laboratory holds the only research tanks in the world used to breed and study krill. “This interrupts the physiology of krill. It stops the eggs hatching, or the larvae developing.”

Some scientists worry that krill, one of the most abundant animal species on earth, may not be able to adapt to global warming.Credit: Rob King/Australian Antarctic Division                    

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Racing Extinction premieres worldwide tonight, December 2nd, on Discovery at 9pm ET/PT.

Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, Oscar®-winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) assembles a team of artists and activists intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that expose issues of endangered species and mass extinction.

Whether infiltrating notorious black markets with guerilla-style tactics or exploring the scientific causes affecting changes to the environment, “Racing Extinction” will change the way we see the world and our role within it.