Ocean Acidification Research.

 

The health of the oceans isn’t just important to those of us on the front line who make a living from them, but to all of humanity. The oceans cover over seventy percent of our planet and are the great balancing force, so when something starts to tip the scales the wrong way, we all need to take notice - and act.

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The acidification of the oceans is a major issue, and we have teamed up with UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab to help gather data and assist them in their research.

The reliance of industrialized nations on fossil fuels has resulted in the increased release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The oceans of the world have an incredible ability to absorb carbon dioxide, removing around thirty percent of it from our atmosphere like a giant sponge, but this is not a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. Slowly, the oceans are starting to acidify as a result of excess carbon dioxide being turned into carbonic acid by the oceans in an attempt to maintain a chemical balance. There is now so much carbon dioxide being soaked up by the oceans of the world that their chemistry and pH levels are being altered. It is a dynamic process affected by other factors such as increasing temperatures, and we are only just beginning to understand the full extent and complexity of the problem.

In tropical waters ocean acidification is visible in “coral bleaching” and is a significant cause of death in coral reefs. Here in the temperate waters off California, the effects of increased acidity cause oysters and other shellfish to produce smaller, thinner, and weaker shells. This concerns us greatly, not just as oyster farmers, but also as marine biologists and human beings because oysters are a keystone species which not only maintain and improve the water quality, but also act as indicators of the overall health of marine ecosystems.

We are actively involved in monitoring and research, and our partnership with UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab and the California Current Acidification Network (C-CAN) provides data that is used to inform decisions on Coastal policy at the state level through the California Ocean Protection Council.

We aim to raise awareness of the issue of ocean acidification so that a behavioral shift can start to take place and solutions to this global problem can be sought out.