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


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

Can Acid Neutralizers Help Coral Reefs Bounce Back?


Coral reefs are in trouble worldwide, from a host of threats, including warming ocean temperatures, nutrient runoff and increasing ocean acidity. A noted climate scientist from California has been conducting an experiment on Australia's Great Barrier Reef to see whether antacid could boost coral growth.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Increased Carbon Dioxide Levels Damage Coral Reefs


Scientists have been worried about coral reefs for years, since realizing that rising temperatures and rising ocean acidity are hard on organisms that build their skeletons from calcium carbonate. Researchers on Australia's Great Barrier Reef are conducting an experiment that demonstrates just how much corals could suffer in the coming decades.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013