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
Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut
Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences