Acidification – Faster Than You Think

Tiny calcium carbonate shells tell us how fast the ocean is acidifying.

We were alarmed by recent headlines that said, “Waters Off California Acidifying Faster Than Rest of Oceans, Study Shows.” We live in coastal California. Acidification is a drop in the ocean’s pH that occurs when excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolves in seawater. The study featured in the news article examined the fossil shells of foraminifera, a simple-shelled planktonic organism that uses calcium carbonate to build its shells. Researchers found a 20% reduction in calcification in the shells of foraminifera in the last century. Shell-building marine animals need the carbonate ions from the ocean and they’re becoming scarcer with a more acid ocean.

Crisis in Australia

No one could be happier than us that Australia has finally had a reprieve from the devastating fires.

A massive dump of water - more than 400mm (15.7in) in some places - caused flooding and transport chaos, but also helped finish off many of the fires.

While we appreciate the rain, the world has endured a horrendous loss with the destruction of homes and habitats on a massive scale the likes of which we have never seen with an inestimable number of animals killed. The rescue of Australia’s charismatic megafauna, the koalas and kangaroos, have captured our hearts.

Jelly Fish: A Bloomin’ Problem?

In places around the world there are so many jellies in the sea that fishing nets and nuclear reactors become clogged with gelatinous blobs that also cover beaches and freak out tourists.

These are signs of jelly blooms – when huge numbers of jellies, often in the millions, appear seemingly out of nowhere. There’s a perception that there are more jellies and jelly blooms in the ocean now. But, is that true?

2020 Vision

Many of the scientists and teachers we interview freely admit it is not a level playing field for women pursuing a career in science. We frequently hear, from both men and women, that science is more favorably biased toward men.

 

by Denise Ryan