Sea Change: Vital part of food web dissolving

Sea Change: Vital part of food web dissolving

The Seattle Times

It didn’t take long for researchers examining the tiny sea snails to see something amiss.

The surface of some of their thin outer shells looked as if they had been etched by a solvent. Others were deeply pitted and pocked.

These translucent sea butterflies known as pteropods, which provide food for salmon, herring and other fish, hadn’t been burned in some horrific lab accident.

They were being eaten away by the Pacific Ocean.

For the first time, scientists have documented that souring seas caused by carbon-dioxide emissions are dissolving pteropods in the wild right now along the U.S. West Coast. That is damaging a potentially important link in the marine food web far sooner than expected.

Monday, May 5, 2014
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NOAA-led researchers discover ocean acidity is dissolving shells of tiny snails off the U.S. West Coast

NOAA-led researchers discover ocean acidity is dissolving shells of tiny snails off the U.S. West Coast

NOAA

A NOAA-led research team has found the first evidence that acidity of continental shelf waters off the West Coast is dissolving the shells of tiny free-swimming marine snails, called pteropods, which provide food for pink salmon, mackerel and herring, according to a new paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Monday, May 5, 2014
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Sea Change: The Pacific's Perilous Turn

Sea Change: The Pacific's Perilous Turn

The Seattle Times

NORMANBY ISLAND, Papua New Guinea — Katharina Fabricius plunged from a dive boat into the Pacific Ocean of tomorrow. 

She kicked through blue water until she spotted a ceramic tile attached to the bottom of a reef. 

A year earlier, the ecologist from the Australian Institute of Marine Science had placed this small square near a fissure in the sea floor where gas bubbles up from the earth. She hoped the next generation of baby corals would settle on it and take root. 

Fabricius yanked a knife from her ankle holster, unscrewed the plate and pulled it close. Even underwater the problem was clear. Tiles from healthy reefs nearby were covered with budding coral colonies in starbursts of red, yellow, pink and blue. This plate was coated with a filthy film of algae and fringed with hairy sprigs of seaweed. 

Instead of a brilliant new coral reef, what sprouted here resembled a slimy lake bottom. 

Isolating the cause was easy. Only one thing separated this spot from the lush tropical reefs a few hundred yards away. 

Carbon dioxide.

Friday, September 13, 2013
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NOAA CRUISE STUDIED OCEAN ACIDIFICATION ON THE WEST COAST

West Coast Ocean Acidification Cruise Blog

In the summer of 2013 NOAA conducted an in-depth ocean acidification investigation along the U.S. West Coast! Sailing from Seattle, WA to Moss Landing, CA, chemists and biologists on board NOAA Ship Fairweather sampled and analyzed water, alga and plankton in an effort to better understand how the marine ecosystem is responding to corrosive effects caused by changing ocean chemistry.

Acidification, which is driven by increases in human-caused fossil fuel burning, is particularly threatening West Coast waters given the region’s unique hydrology and large biological communities. Data from this cruise may help America's fishing industry and state and local officials can plan, prepare and protect its commercially-valuable ecosystems.

Thursday, August 29, 2013
NOAA Led Study Shows Walleye Pollock Resilience to Ocean Acidification

NOAA Led Study Shows Walleye Pollock Resilience to Ocean Acidification

Scientists at NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center recently found that some life history parameters of walleye pollock seem to be only minimally affected by high CO2 waters. Dr. Thomas Hurst and University of Alaska colleagues Elena Fernandez and Dr. Jeremy Mathis conducted multiple experiments in conditions mimicking both present day CO2 levels in high latitude waters and those predicted to occur over the next century (280-2100µatm, pH= 7.4- 8.16).

 

Friday, July 12, 2013
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