Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EPOCA: Ocean Acidification and its Consequences on Ecosystems

26.05.2008
Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) through human activities have a well-known impact on the Earth's climate. Its other, less well-known, impact is "ocean acidification", with uncertain consequences on marine organisms and ecosystems.

The European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) will be launched on 10 June 2008. Its goal is to document ocean acidification, investigate its impact on biological processes, predict its consequences over the next 100 years, and advise policy-makers on potential thresholds or tipping points that should not be exceeded.

The World's oceans cover over 70% of the planet's surface, contribute half of its primary production and contain an enormous diversity of life. Thus it is not surprising that they provide invaluable resources to human society. They also play a vital role in Earth's life support system due to their impact on climate and global biogeochemical cycles and due to their capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

The oceans currently absorb half of the CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels. Put simply, climate change would be far worse if it was not for the oceans. However, there is a cost to the oceans. When carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, it forms carbonic acid. As more CO2 is taken up by the oceans surface, the pH (a measure of acidity, the lower the pH the greater the acidity) decreases, moving towards a more acidic state. This change is called "ocean acidification" and is happening at a rate that has not been experienced for at least 400,000 years and probably for the last 20 million years.

The overall goal of the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) is to fill the numerous gaps in our understanding of the effects and implications of ocean acidification.

- EPOCA aims to document the changes in ocean chemistry and biogeography across space and time. Paleo-reconstruction methods will be used on several biological archives, including foraminifera and deep-sea corals, to determine past variability in ocean chemistry and to tie these to present-day chemical and biological observations.

- EPOCA will determine the sensitivity of marine organisms, communities and ecosystems to ocean acidification. Molecular to biochemical, physiological and ecological approaches will be combined with laboratory and field-based perturbation experiments to quantify biological responses to ocean acidification, assess the potential for adaptation, and determine the consequences for biogeochemical cycling. Laboratory experiments will focus on key organisms selected on the basis of their ecological, biogeochemical or socio-economic importance. Field studies will be carried out in regions of the ocean deemed most sensitive to ocean acidification.

- Insights into the impacts of ocean acidification will be integrated in biogeochemical, sediment and coupled ocean-climate models to better understand and predict the responses of the Earth system to ocean acidification. Special attention will be paid to the potential feedbacks of the physiological changes in the carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and iron cycles.

- EPOCA will assess uncertainties, risks and thresholds ("tipping points") related to ocean acidification at scales ranging from sub-cellular to ecosystem and local to global. It will also assess pathways of CO2 emissions required to avoid these thresholds and describe the change and the subsequent risk to the marine environment and Earth system, should these emissions be exceeded.

Led by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the EU Framework 7 Collaborative Project EPOCA is run by a consortium of 27 partners across 9 countries involving many of the leading oceanographic institutions across Europe and more than 100 permanent scientists. The budget of this 4 year project is 16.5 M€ with a contribution from the European Commission of 6.5 M€.

For more information and a full list of all EPOCA partners visit: http://epoca-project.eu

Kickoff meeting:
EPOCA will officially be launched during a kickoff meeting in Nice (France), 10-13 June 2008.
Further institutional contacts in Germany:
GKSS Research Centre, Institute for Coastal Research
Dr Markus Schartau
Phone: +49 4152 87 1540
email: markus.schartau@gkss.de
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Dr Ernst Maier-Reimer
Phone: +49 40 41173 233
email: ernst.maier-reimer@zmaw.de
The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of temperate and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic for international science organisations. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>