Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Employ New Tool to Assess Potential for Ecosystem Damage

05.08.2008
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego marine chemist Andrew Dickson plans to purchase and deploy an autonomous buoy-mounted sensor to study the effect increasingly acidic ocean water could be having on ecosystems in the California Current.

Dickson is collaborating with Montana-based developers of the sensor, who received a $980,000 federal grant in June to further its development. Recently published findings by other researchers have indicated a disturbing upwelling of acidic waters into coastal regions that support sea urchins, abalone and other marine invertebrates whose ability to form shells could be impaired by the corrosive water. Dickson said recent discoveries like that underscore the need for more detailed measurements.

"If the instrument works as we hope, it will be a valuable tool that will enable us to characterize the extent and intensity of incursions of these high-CO2 waters onto the California shelf and better understand the stresses ecosystems are under," said Dickson.

The device, known as a Submersible Autonomous Moored Instrument, is mounted onto buoys and suspended at a depth of up to several hundred meters, where it measures pH for long periods of time. The Missoula, Montana firm Sunburst Sensors and University of Montana researcher Mike DeGrandpre developed the instrument, with input from other researchers including Dickson, who helped them run tests on the instrument at Scripps and who is working with them to improve the instrument.

"By observing pH over long time periods, ocean scientists will be able to determine the processes that control seawater pH, its natural range of variability, and how pH is changing as CO2 is absorbed by the oceans," DeGrandpre said.

Dickson said he plans to deploy his new instrument for initial testing in Southern California waters within the next six months and then hopes to install it on a research buoy near the California/Oregon border in a proposed collaboration headed by Cal State University San Marcos researcher Victoria Fabry.

In May, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory researcher Richard Feely reported in the journal Science that upwelling ocean water along the California coast is already contaminated with anthropogenic CO2 in addition to the CO2 that accumulates in such subsurface waters from normal biological activity. The resulting enhanced acidity could be problematic, but there is still much to be understood, said Dickson.

"What's the intensity and frequency of these events? Is it a few days now and then or do acidic conditions persist over a protracted period of time?" said Dickson. "We fear that these intermittent acidic conditions could pose severe problems for organisms and their associated ecosystems, but — as yet — we just don't know."

Robert Monroe | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Minimized water consumption in CSP plants - EU project MinWaterCSP is making good progress
05.12.2017 | Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum

nachricht Jena Experiment: Loss of species destroys ecosystems
28.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: 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...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

11.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

What makes corals sick?

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>