Ocean Acidification is in the Spotlight. How Can We Address Its Impacts?

The ocean has become 30% more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. This continuing change in ocean pH, or ocean acidification, will likely impact the economies of coastal communities. The science community must work together with industry, policymakers, other science disciplines, and coastal communities to find practical and applicable solutions to address the environmental impacts of ocean acidification. This integrated approach is known as transdisciplinary science and seeks to understand the interactions among ocean acidification, the ecosystem, and society.

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Thirsty trees are more susceptible to damaging beetle infestation

Summer, winter, and multi-year drought events initiate outbreaks of the damaging spruce beetle. Droughts suppress the ability of trees to produce chemicals to defend themselves against the fatal bugs.

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Cleaning up a sea of data

Oceanographers have been drilling sediment cores from the ocean for decades to understand past ocean conditions, but they have inconsistent archiving techniques. In other words, the data was a mess. A new database brings together more than 2,000 sediment cores from the North Pacific, which will help us better understand the ocean and climate over time.

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So wait, climate change could be good for trees?

Many politicians lacking knowledge about the effects of climate change like to point to the fact that increased CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere will be good for plants and, by default, conclude that climate change is good for humans. But will climate change actually be good for plants? Well maybe. Like all predictions in this world there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the answer to that question; however, quite a few recent studies indicate that due to a longer growing season this may be true at least for some tree species. Trees are extremely important to humans’ and other species’ ability to exist on this planet. We need oxygen and they giveth. Trees also store a lot of carbon, but predicting how this will change in the future is important as we try to prepare for a changing climate.

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What can 100 years of mud tell us?

Turns out 100 years of mud can tell us quite a bit about microbial communities. Capo and colleagues found out how microbial communities are impacted by environmental change. Using an emerging proxy, DNA recovered from lake sediments, they were able to show microbial eukaryotic diversity through time, which revealed interesting trends in response to eutrophication and climate warming.

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Ocean Acidification Steps into the Spotlight

The ocean absorbs nearly a quarter of the carbon dioxide humans emit. Since the Industrial Revolution the ocean has become 30% more acidic. This change in ocean carbon chemistry, or ocean acidification, has the potential to impact many socioeconomic resources. An increased scientific understanding of these risks has illustrated the need for collaboration across many disciplines to develop realistic solutions to mitigate the rising threat to vital marine resources. Transdisciplinary science will be critical in informing policy to protect our economic interests.

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