Marching Through March
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

March 2013 is furiously peeling off days from the calendar, desperate to pass the torch on to other months, other seasons.  Time these days feels radically non-linear, we better post some news about the oceans and acidification this very day:

According to a new paper published in Nature Geoscience predators could play a role in CO2 emissions on freshwater ecosystems:
"Predators can influence the exchange of carbon dioxide between ecosystems and the atmosphere by altering ecosystem processes such as decomposition and primary production, according to food web theory. […] Here, we report experiments in three-tier food chains in experimental ponds, streams and bromeliads in Canada and Costa Rica in the presence or absence of fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and invertebrate (Hesperoperla pacifica and Mecistogaster modesta) predators. We monitored carbon dioxide fluxes along with prey and primary producer biomass. We found substantially reduced carbon dioxide emissions in the presence of predators in all systems, despite differences in predator type, hydrology, climatic region, ecological zone and level of in situ primary production. We also observed lower amounts of prey biomass and higher amounts of algal and detrital biomass in the presence of predators. We conclude that predators have the potential to markedly influence carbon dioxide dynamics in freshwater systems."

Ocean wave made of glass by Italian artist Mario Cerolli

How US East Coast regions react to Ocean Acidification:  A new large study conducted by scientists from 11 US institutions around the Eastern US and the Gulf of Mexico will help researchers understand how different bodies of water will be affected by changes in acidity.
"Before now, we haven't had a very clear picture of acidification status on the east coast of the U.S.," says Zhaohui 'Aleck' Wang, the study's lead author and a chemical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). "It's important that we start to understand it, because increase in ocean acidity could deeply affect marine life along the coast and has important implications for people who rely on aquaculture and fisheries both commercially and recreationally."
According to the survey different regions of coastal ocean will respond to an influx of CO2 in different ways. "If you put the same amount of CO2 into both the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of Mexico right now, the ecosystem in the Gulf of Maine would probably feel the effects more dramatically," says Wang. "Acidity is already relatively high in that region, and the saturation of calcium carbonate—the mineral that many organisms need to make shells—is particularly low. It's not a great situation."
Wang goes on to explain that excess CO2 can enter coastal waters from a variety of different sources. One large source is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Another potential culprit is nutrient-rich runoff from land. Rainfall and other surface flows can wash fertilizers and other byproducts of human activities into river systems and ground water, and ultimately, into the coastal ocean, delivering an excess of nutrients and often an explosion of biological activity that can lead to decreased oxygen and increased CO2 and acidity. As he points out, 'this happens regularly in the Gulf of Mexico," says Wang. "The Mississippi River dumps enormous amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients into the Gulf, which spawns large algal blooms that lead to production of large amount of organic matter. In the process of decomposing the organic matter, the microbes consume oxygen in the water and leave carbon dioxide behind, making the water more acidic. If this process happens in the Gulf of Maine, the ecosystem there may be even more vulnerable since the Gulf of Maine is a semi-enclosed system and it may take longer time for low pH, low oxygen water to disperse."
After analyzing their data, Wang and colleagues found that, despite a "dead zone" of low oxygen and high acidity outside the mouth of the Mississippi, the Gulf of Mexico on the whole showed a high ratio of alkalinity to DIC, meaning it would be more resistant to acidification. As the team travelled farther north, however, they saw the ratio steadily decreases north of Georgia.
In the study the waters in the Gulf of Maine on average had the lowest alkalinity to DIC ratio of any region along the eastern seaboard, meaning that it would be especially vulnerable to acidification.  While it's unclear exactly why the ratio of alkalinity to DIC is low in those northern waters, Wang believes part of the issue may be linked to alkalinity sources to the region. For example, the Labrador Coastal Current brings relatively fresh, low alkalinity water down from the Labrador Sea to the Gulf of Maine and Middle Atlantic Bight.  If this current is the major source of alkalinity to the region it may mean that the Gulf of Maine's fate could be linked to changes in global climate that, through melting sea ice and glaciers, increase the flow of fresh water to the Gulf of Maine. However, whether this freshening is accompanied by a decrease in seawater alkalinity and "buffer" capacity remains unknown.
Since the waters of the northeast U.S. are already susceptible to rising acidity in Wang's opinion this raises big questions about how species of marine life will fare in the future. "For example, how are oysters going to do? What about other shellfish? If the food chain changes, how are fish going to be impacted?  There's a whole range of ecological and sociological questions." There is a great need for need for more robust coastal ocean chemistry monitoring and coastal ocean acidification studies, he adds. A better understanding of the changing chemistry will help fisheries regulators to better manage the stocks.

Get more than a penny for your thoughts:  "The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, as part of a larger ocean health initiative, and in collaboration with The Oceanography Society, is offering a $10,000 prize for the most promising new science-based concept for mitigating environmental and/or societal impacts of ocean acidification.
In addition to the prize, the authors of highly ranked concepts will receive invitations to submit full proposals to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation for funding consideration."
"The Foundation seeks concepts that would provide a better understanding of the impact of ocean acidification on different parts of the marine ecosystem and mitigation strategies that might reduce the environmental or societal impacts of ocean acidification. Concepts may focus on natural processes and/or human activities that benefit society. They can be global, regional, or local in scope, and may address a single species/activity or whole ecosystems/industries. While submissions must be firmly rooted in science and should include elements of new basic research, concepts must show a high probability of leading to future demonstrations of a new capability. Preference will be given to interdisciplinary efforts that seek to apply concepts across traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Submissions may come from anyone, regardless of nationality or institutional affiliation, and may represent individuals or teams."

Download the Ocean Challenge Overview PDF HERE
Or read the details HERE

Free seminar on Ocean Acidification on Wednesday, March 13, in Anacortes, WA.  Taking place at the Seafarers' Memorial Park Building between 6 and 8 PM, members of the Puget Sound Partnership Ecosystem Coordination Board, Shannon Point Marine Center, Tailor Shellfish Farms and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership will explain the problem of Ocean Acidification, talk about how shellfish are coping with it and offer recommendations, partnerships and actions.
More info HERE

The California Academy of Sciences has put up a new Youtube video on Ocean Acidification:

The Coastal America Partnership will be hosting its 4th Student Summit on the Oceans and Coasts from March 9-11 in Washington DC, bringing "students from around the US, Canada and Mexico to Washington, DC, to raise awareness of coastal issues and to promote stewardship of our ocean."
"The March 11th Student Presentation Day at the Smithsonian Institution’s National
Museum of Natural History’s (NMNH) Baird Auditorium is open to the public. To
amplify the learning opportunity, this event will also be made
public through a live webcast over the Smithsonian’s Institution’s
Ocean Portal at" from 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST. The webcast presents a unique
opportunity for students, educators and the public to watch from
locations throughout the world as these young students make
their voices heard in our nation’s capital."


"The second U.S. Ocean Acidification Principal Investigators' Meeting will be held in Washington, DC at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center on September 18-20 2013. This three-day meeting will bring together the U.S. OA research community to assess the state of OA science nationally and to identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for collaborations that will accelerate OA research in the future.
This meeting offers an opportunity for the scientific community to help shape U.S. national OA research efforts as they develop. In addition to poster sessions to showcase scientific results, meeting activities include numerous panel, plenary, and breakout discussions designed to explore how current U.S. OA research and organizational support fit together, and to identify where greater synergies can be encouraged."


At least we have laughter to save us from despair when not insanity: "the Tea Party Manatee-Riding Patriots":
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Eye Candy as Brain Food
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

Images of blue along each one of these videos and links:
≈≈≈A feel-good story on video: divers off the shore of Socorro Island in Mexico free a majestic whale shark from the thick anchor rope strangling its body.

≈≈≈Chances are you have seen one of Mark Tipple's iconic photographs of divers and swimmers ducking under white rolling waves along the pages of famous magazines or on the internet.
I took the liberty to make a small screenshot of the new Mare Vida project shots:
Aside from their breathtaking beauty, the images evoke and resonate with the thunderous, relentless power of the oceans, an element both foreign and familiar to us, deserving to be respected, but also ecstatically enjoyed. To the point our breaths allow we can be seals, and play. Here is a Vimeo video of the young artist talking about his better and also his lesser known work.

≈≈≈Read this detailed and technical article from Scientific Reports on "the natural ocean acidification and fertilization event caused by the submarine eruption of El Hierro"
"The shallow submarine eruption which took place in October 10th 2011, 1.8 km south of the island of El Hierro (Canary Islands) allowed the study of the abrupt changes in the physical-chemical properties of seawater caused by volcanic discharges. In order to monitor the evolution of these changes, seven oceanographic surveys were carried out over six months (November 2011-April 2012) from the beginning of the eruptive stage to the post-eruptive phase. Here, we present dramatic changes in the water column chemistry including large decreases in pH, striking effects on the carbonate system, decreases in the oxygen concentrations and enrichment of Fe(II) and nutrients. Our findings highlight that the same volcano which was responsible for the creation of a highly corrosive environment, affecting marine biota, has also provided the nutrients required for the rapid recuperation of the marine ecosystem."

≈≈≈BIOS, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, does some fantastic work.  One of their projects is the Explored Program, "designed to provide teachers and students with hands-on experience in marine science.  Each year a new theme is chosen to highlight a current topic, and field trips, lesson plans and activites are produced."
BIOS Explorer 2013: Ocean Acidification

≈≈≈NPR audio piece on All Things Considered about plankton and its importance to the health of the planet:

≈≈≈New BBC documentary with the title Oceans: Blue Heart of the Planet. "Almost three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered in water and around 90% of all the living space on Earth is contained in the oceans.
These vast reserves cradled early life and continue to be home to a wealth of extraordinary creatures. At least 230,000 unique species have been documented, although as humans have only explored a small fraction of the depths, there may be as many as two million.
As well as being home to everything from whelks to whale sharks, the oceans offer a range of critical services, including acting as a source of food and regulating the atmosphere.
In particular, the oceans are also vital as sponges for green house gases, taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through two processes - dissolving straight into the water column and also through photosynthesis by phytoplankton.
Today, the oceans soak up around one third of all of human carbon emissions
But this comes at a terrible cost. The composition of the oceans is changing to become more acidic, threatening the tremendous diversity  of creatures that call them home."
Watch the trailer HERE

≈≈≈EDF, the Environmental Defense Action Fund has launched a campaign to "thank Administrator Lubchenco for being an oceans advocate."
"During her time as NOAA Administrator, Jane Lubchenco took historic strides towards protecting our fisheries and ensuring ocean sustainability.
As her time at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association draws to a close, we'd like to show her our great appreciation for all she's done. Will you join us?"

You can do so by signing HERE

≈≈≈Thanks to a $2.7 million grant from the state Alaska will soon have a buoy network capable of feeding real time ocean acidity, temperature, conductivity and dissolved oxygen data into the Alaska Ocean Observing System.
The information will be available to both scientists and the general public.

≈≈≈"If you are interested in the Arctic Ocean and how science and policy work together, then Arctic Ocean Acidification conference organized by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) is a perfect venue to learn more this. The conference will take place in Bergen, Norway, 6-8 May 2013."
"The main topics to be covered are:
- results from observational, experimental and modelling studies of past, present and future ocean acidification,
- responses of marine organisms and ecosystem structure, functioning and biodiversity
- perturbations to biogeochemical cycling and feedbacks to the climate system, and
- the economic, social and policy challenges of ocean acidification."

Detailed information HERE

≈≈≈By clicking on THIS link you can download a complete e-lecture by Richard Feely and Scott Doney titled "Ocean Acidification:The Other CO2 problem".
"Lecture Summary:
The overall goal of this lecture is to provide an overview of the process and progress of ocean acidification in the global oceans and its impacts on marine organisms over time scales of days to centuries. Examples of acidification impacts on corals, shellfish, and zooplankton are given to show how acidification can affect different kinds of life processes. This lecture describes what we know and what we don't know about ecosystem responses to acidification and the socio-economic implications for our society. Finally, we discuss the future implications of increased CO2 levels on the health of our ocean ecosystems and related ocean-based economies."

≈≈≈3 year Postdoctoral position at HKU (University of Hong Kong) to study marine invertebrate response to climate change at proteomics or biomineralization or physiology levels.
More details about this work opportunity HERE

≈≈≈PhD position at the University of Bristol to study "the future of shelf ecosystems". More information at the University of Bristol website.
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The Transit of Venus
Saturday, June 10, 2017

By Daniel de la Calle

From Maya Lin's interview in our film to the recent NYC Pteropod exhibit by Cornelia Kavanagh that we wrote about in April, we have always enjoyed looking at nature, science or Ocean Acidification through an artistic filter.  With that in mind we bring you now a sample plate made of beautiful films, sculptures created with plastic debris, photo exhibits, art contests and visually captivating scientific research that might inspire you, deepen your understanding of things or spark a revolution:

The current "Washed Ashore: Plastics, Sea Life and Art" project at the Chula Vista Nature Center features enormous fish, coral reefs, turtles and jellyfish created from plastic bottles, flip-flops, ropes, trash cans and much more.  Angela Haseltine Pozzi is the artist behind it, a native of Oregon that found inspiration and motivation after seeing the pristine beaches of her childhood "become cluttered with plastic pollution."  And she adds:"I now see the essential purpose of my work is not only to create strong aesthetically sound sculptures, but also to bring awareness and dialogue about the oceans' environmental issues. I believe the power of the arts can carry urgent messages forward into the public eye."


It was June 5th, 1761, when close to two hundred scientists spread around the world to observe the transit of Venus, hoping that by watching from different stations they would be able to measure the distance from Earth to the Sun.  That event probably marked the first attempt at global scientific cooperation.  Fast forwarding now to the present times, artist Lynette Wallworth saw a connection between this historic collaborative effort at observing celestial objects and the state of our colorful coral reefs of today, in desperate need of a multinational campaign.  That is how she began two years ago working with a microscope instead of a telescope on the film "Coral: Rekindling Venus" around

reefs in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Florida and Australian laboratories, in the hope of being finished for this year's transit of Venus.  I bet you just saw tv coverage of that planet of love and feminine beauty crawling in front of the sun; now you also stand the chance (if you are in New York at least) of seeing the mesmerizing images of "Coral: Rekindling Venus" at the planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History.

The film has no narration because Ms Wallworth believed it is all about the emotional experience. "I know the information is out there — I think our connection to this community is not," she says.  So what the film does instead is reveal in extreme close up a vibrant miniature universe of creatures caught up in the struggle for life and reproduction, lushly eating and moving in a display that proves how the small can explain the big, that proportions and detail are bewitching and that sometimes just one word can be one too many.
Do press "Play" to watch the official trailer and/or the interesting TEDxSydney talk by Lynette Wallworth below.  You shall not be disappointed:


Since early May and until mid September you can visit a unique art display involving five teams of scientists and artists at the EDF Foundation in Paris.  

Photo: Living Light No. 2 (Pyrocystis Fusiformis), 2011, by Erika Blumenfeld in collaboration with Michael Latz

Under the title Carbon 12 this eclectic group exhibit "aims to build a bridge between contemporary art and climatology around the central role carbon plays in current ecological evolutions."  The themes, artists and scientists are:
Ocean Acidification
A large work by David Buckland representing a chalk cliff, illustrates his response to the research led by Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez (National Oceanography Centre, UK) on the Arctic coccolithophores’ role in the absorption of carbon and the acidification of the oceans.
Technologies of maritime energy
With the help of drawings, installations and sculptures, the British artist Annie Cattrell reformulates research on the ocean's role in energy production, the use of the swell and operation of submarine turbines led by Mark C. Bell (ICIT/Herriot-Watt University, UK) and Simon Boxall (National Oceanography Centre, UK).
Atmospheric Volatility
With "Domestic Disaster 3: Planet Earth", HeHe (a duo formed by Helen Evens and Heiko Hansen) recreates a miniaturized polluted atmosphere placed on a world map. Colourful and artificial, animated by a slow and steady movement, accompanied by a sound choreography, this atmosphere echoes the research on fluid dynamics led by Jean-Marc Chomaz (CNRS, Laboratoire LadHyX, France).
The damage to the biodiversity of forests
Lucy + Jorge Orta, in resonance with findings made by Professor Yadvinder Malhi (Environmental Change Institute Oxford, UK), will show a wall of photographs of flowers, digitally reworked, taken during their expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in 2009. Three showcases containing moulded sculptures recall the primary role - as carbon trap – of the Amazonian biodiversity for the ecological balance of the planet.
Maritime pollution
A series of photographs and a video created by the American artist Erika Blumenfeld, who worked with Michael Latz (researcher in maritime bioluminescence, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA) underline the fundamental role of phytoplankton in the cycle of oxygen’s renewal (up to 50%).
An accessible and educational scenography, videos conceived in close collaboration with scientists, as well as documentaries on Cape Farewell’s work, will allow all members of the public to learn more about the scientific elements involved in the completion of the different works of art.    

We want to mention again the Ocean Ark Alliance art challenge for Year 9-12 to be showed at the Melbourne Aquarium on October 22nd, 2012. This fantastic project is currently Victoria (Australia) based, but organizers hope it to eventually become a national and international initiative.


for the $50,000 prize moneys.

your school's interest
To become a SPONSOR

Under the continuing and growing effects of acidification our oceans will kill an unknown number of phytoplankton. We have previously written about it, I know, about how phytoplankton might be the planet's most important organism, both basic to the marine food chain and provider of half of the oxygen in the atmosphere.  HERE is a very valid article by Stephen Leahy about the latest research by Chinese and German scientists on diatoms, but the simple reason to be mentioned here is that they represent the symbolic contribution by nature to this post about art, beauty and creation. Just look at the photograph of these diatoms.

Credit: Michael Stringer

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Learning & Working Around OA
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

One learns and then works, and sometimes one's work is learning.  A few opportunities to do both:
A month-long research voyage in Scotland is using the latest robotic submersible technology to study the risks of Ocean Acidification to their deep coral colonies. The Mingulay coral reefs were only discovered ten years ago by a team led by Professor Murray Roberts, the person in charge of this expedition.
At the start of the voyage schoolchildren from Sgoil Lionacleit in Benbecula will visit the ship to watch the expedition’s robotic submarines explore the deep sea coral reefs growing on the Hebridean seabed. The team will also be working with the pupils and educational specialists from ‘Our Dynamic Earth’ in Edinburgh to develop environmental workshop materials for use in schools around Scotland.
Professor Murray Roberts says, “It’s the upcoming generations who are going to be the custodians of the natural world. This is an opportunity for young people to see with their own eyes the amazing underwater habitats that exist on their own doorstep.”
Take a minute to watch this great video about the Davidson Seamount, another deep sea coral area off the coast of California, to understand what makes these marine environments so special and discover what they look like:
SOURCE for video

In early May the College of Science and Engineering at San Francisco State University hosted their 14th annual Student Project Showcase.  It featured more than 150 individual and group entries competing in the fields of Biological Science and Physical Science. "Graduate student Sara Boles explored the impact that rising acidity in oceans has on sea creatures. She placed oyster larvae into containers with varying temperatures and carbon dioxide levels and monitored them at three stages of development. She found that oysters in more intense environments -- higher temperatures and carbon dioxide levels -- needed to create more protein to deal with the environment, expending more energy in the process and making it difficult for them to survive. The results could suggest the effects of climate change on other species. "I've always been interested in human-caused activities and how they affect our environment," Boles said. "Since we're animals too, it's really important to think of any other animals, like oysters, like a canary in a coal mine.""

A group of students at Montalvo Elementary School, in Ventura, California are participating in the NOAA's Adopt a Drifter Program, tracking a 44-pound buoy across the sea after its release over a month ago off the Santa Barbara coast.
"“[The students] will be able to predict and draw conclusions based on the data obtained after reviewing the buoy’s information,” said Jose Chicote, the fourth-grade teacher at Montalvo Elementary School whose class is involved in the study, “not to mention the new scientific terminology and math skills involved with this project.” […]
A unique component of the Adopt a Drifter Program is that students can follow buoy releases in other parts of the world and come together internationally: “The Adopt a [Drifter] Program is partnering with the International Preparatory School in Santiago de Chile, Chile,” said Chicote. “I believe this is a great opportunity for elementary school students to have a broader knowledge about communication between other students in different parts of the globe.”"
“We have connections with kids in Chile, and when [the buoy] goes over to Chile, they get to see our names,” said student Aja Lim. “I feel so proud that our school can do all these cool things because this is something important.”
You might work at a school and want to adopt a drifter too.  HERE IS THE LINK to the NOAA program site.

2 Year post-doctoral position within the European Free-Ocean Carbon dioxide Enrichment experiments (eFOCE) at the Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche (Villefranche-sur-mer, France).
"Responsibilities: The applicant will be in charge of running medium (few weeks) to longterm (several months) experiments in the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, focusing on the effects of ocean acidification on natural benthic communities (Posidonia beds and coralligenous algae). The experiments will be carried out in close collaboration with the eFOCE partners: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Intitute (USA), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK), Station Biologique de Roscoff (France) and the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (Spain)." Deadline for application is June 24th, 2012.
READ HERE to find more.

Ph.D. scholarship at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of Adelaide, Australia.  They are looking for "an outstanding student interested in studying the interactive effects of Ocean Acidification and sea surface temperature rise on the physiology, behavior, and sensory ecology of larval fish.  The project has a strong experimental component and is mainly laboratory-based."  The position is only open to international candidates outside of Australia and New Zealand.  Applicants should have a M.Sc. degree or at least the equivalent of an Australian First Class Honors degree.

During the life of this blog we have gone from no videos on Ocean Acidification to the dozens you can now find online.  This new one is from the California Environmental Legacy Project.

A video animation by the Alliance for Climate Education that can serve as introduction for school children to Ocean Acidification.

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The Crossing Of The Andes
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

You can fool and distract yourself in the days leading to a trip, go through the motions of packing, closing doors and taking cabs in hypnotic discipline, behave in such a drowsy way during the flight that the experience nears teletransportation, but when the captain's voice comes in the speaker commanding everyone to buckle up in preparation for crossing the Andes you immediately wake up with the strength of a pound of caffeine and Chile surfaces in your mind, solid and unequivocal.
I had never buckled up to go over mountains.  But then again, these were the Andes, daisy chaining in time everything from the Incas to "Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors"and encompassing in space over 7,000 kilometers of mountains, high plateaus and volcanoes; the true backbone of the South American continent.  Sure, the Himalayas are the Himalayas, with all the 7000 and 8000 meter summits in the world, but when it comes to names nothing resonates higher or sounds steeper than the Andes.
The Chile I saw and walked on below was at times not what I expected.  Downtown Santiago could be in Madrid or even Paris and Southern Chile is at times a slightly poorer and much wilder mirror image of Germany and Switzerland.  City streets nationwide are taken by literally thousands of stray dogs.  They are so many and so large only after some time you come to accept none of them lives in a home.  Maybe as consequence, there are very few dog owners. Any city street corner in Chile
But reaching closer to our documentary and its subject, when looking at a map one would think that Chile and Chileans face the Pacific Ocean for over 4,500 kilometers of straight coastline, but the truth is that the country has its back to it and what they face are the wine valleys, fruit farms and mineral-rich soil before and into the striking Andean peaks.  Sure, you will find in its waters some of the best fishing grounds in the world, and they are the second producers of salmon worldwide, but culturally, historically, gastronomically and economically the Pacific is mostly ignored and taken as a frontier.  After arriving in Puerto Montt for our three scheduled screenings at the Diego Rivera theater I walked into a 30 aisle supermarket and found a plethora of kuchen and wurst, many of the smells from my Bavarian grandmother's kitchen, Argentinian veal steaks (some fed with Chilean fish meal!), but no fish section at all.  Nothing, not even salmon.  Ten steps away from waters filled with barnacles the size of your fist, "shoe mussels" (deservedly called so by locals) and fish farms that export worldwide, buying any of it fresh was not an option.
The two school screenings went very well, drawing kids from towns within a two hour radius.  Some had to even cross lakes on ferry boats to get to the theater those two mornings.  The students from a Puerto Varas school, a beautiful town sitting at the foot of lake Llanquihue, had been doing these past few months some lab experiments on Ocean Acidification, so they were the most knowledgeable and interested (measured by the number of questions raised at least) of all.  These events with students are not just about the specific problem of acidification, they are about nature, preservation, the environment, the threats to life and about having that become part of the school curriculum.  Living in such beautiful, almost unspoiled surroundings I felt I had to explain that in fact most of the world does not look that way and is not in such condition, that no matter how accustomed they might be they should not take any of it for granted. They are very fortunate to wake up every morning with wilderness at the doorstep, surrounded by clean water, fertile land, and glacier mountains tops. Idyllic, and it is very good to hear a foreigner praise and envy it.The youngest kids walking into the Diego Rivera Theater
The evening screening for adults usually shows where there is friction in the region, the cracks on the wall that go unnoticed to the mere visitor, so I am very lucky because this way of traveling puts me in a very privileged position. In the case of Puerto Montt the not so sunny side was primarily the environmental damage caused by the salmon industry.  There is a long, repeated history of pollution and abuse by salmon farms in the area, and also much resentment because the economic benefits have not stayed in the area either.  And the fishing fleet had not done things any better.  It seems to have historically been in the hands of Spanish and Japanese companies with little scruples and immense greed (those two, always going hand in hand).  Since I am a Spaniard, a local fisherman and a young historian both spoke about the atrocities my ancestors had done since the XVI Century and about the ones my fellow countrymen are still doing, obliterating the ocean bottoms, trawler fishing the waters empty.  It is hard to know what to say in these cases, when one becomes a forced representative of his country of origin or of the first world in general and I am told I have no right to defend preservation, to deprive their country's economy of developing and preach the opposite of what my nation has done and still does. No matter how much I despise flag waving and tribal chest pounding, it is not hard to also see how it can itch to have an "outsider" deliver certain messages, so my hope, I guess, is that soon the young audience from the morning screenings will be the one speaking and demanding changes everywhere.  Also in beautiful Southern Chile. View from Puerto Varas of Lake Llanquihue and the Osorno Volcano
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Ocean Acidification and Education
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

Inspired by our upcoming screenings for students this Thursday and Friday in the Southern Chilean town of Puerto Montt we want to post information for and about students and Ocean Acidification:

»Students from the Ridgeway School (Plymouth, UK) were commissioned by the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) and the UK Plymouth Marine Laboratory to produce an animation film to explain the issue of Ocean Acidification to young people.  They talked to scientists, conducted their own research both at school and in the National Marine Aquarium and were involved in the whole process of animation.  The result was this 8 minute film that won the Royal Society of Chemistry's Bill Bryson Prize.

»Last month youngsters from Ivybridge Community College,UK, and from Brest, Brittany got together and exchanged ideas and oppinions on invasive non-native species and Ocean Acidification.  The event was supported by Marinexus, a cross-channel research and outreach project to bring together marine science and outreach in Devon and Brittany to raise awareness of marine ecosystems in the Western Channel and of their ability to cope with the effects of human activity.

»The classic Ocean Acidification experiment with vinegar and white chalkboard chalk carried out at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, California. Easy to replicate in any school:

»Santa Monica High School’s "Car Team" students of Team Marine won First Place out of 35 high schools in the 2011-12 QuikSCience Challenge, a regional environmental science ocean stewardship competition. Since the beginning of the school year, “Car Team” students have worked to convert a 1971 red convertible Volkswagen Super Beetle into a 100 percent electric vehicle (short video). With their zero-emission car awaiting its final step (installation of the battery pack), the students’ “lesson plan on wheels” will soon be wrapped with the logos of all sponsors and showcased across Los Angeles County at schools and community events to promote cleaner alternative transportation. As part of their competition, they also went to Lincoln and John Adams Middle Schools to educate youth about the problems of and solutions to climate change and ocean acidification.
As part of the conversion process, the students have created a manual with pictures intended to help others repeat the process. Students have worked with local electric car experts, including Paul Pearson of Gas to Electric Conversions, as well as Samohi's automotive teacher Dan Cox, and City Hall's Rick Sikes to develop the manual.
Photo: Team Marine

»Links to another Acidification test you can do at home or in the class.  All you will need is a red cabbage, drinking straws and very small cups.  Details can be found HERE and if you prefer to watch a quick demo video of the experiment and meet a young student preparing herself to be the first person on Mars click HERE.

»University of Miami grad student Rachel Heuer has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to study how Gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta) might cope with Ocean Acidification.
Photo: FAO
 "Her initial findings indicate that toadfish exposed to elevated CO2 levels, relevant for the near future and current upwelling regions, lose increased amounts of base from the body through the intestine. This is problematic since toadfish and other marine fishes need to retain bases to help them cope with acidic environments. Heuer's preliminary findings suggest that this intestinal base loss negatively affects their overall pH balance and health.
"During my NSF Fellowship, I hope to build upon these findings by assessing the energetic cost and exploring the effects of long-term CO2 exposure in the Gulf toadfish. I am excited to utilize this fellowship to contribute to a rapidly expanding field of ocean acidification research," says Heuer."

»College of Charleston graduate student Jennifer Bennet is one of the recipients of the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship this year.  She earned her M.S. in marine biology and will serve at the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmostpheric Research Ocean Acidification Program helping scientists there optimize and standardize  data collection so it can be easily translated for the public.  Bennett will also engage stakeholder groups to determine their information needs for effective decision-making about Ocean Acidification impacts.
Photo (Jennifer Bennett):

»Finally, for those that have finished their studies and are looking for work the Imperial College London offers a 3 year Postdoc in Modelling Biodiversity Responses to Human Impact.  The main research objective is to develop a rigorous global model of how local biodiversity responds to human impacts, in order to support projections of how alternative socio-political scenarios will affect global and regional biodiversity. Biodiversity data will come from published comparisons of assemblage composition along gradients of threat intensity. You will develop and populate a database of precise measures of threat intensity corresponding to the diversity data, developing new measures from remote-sensed data as necessary; you will also develop a database to hold species=92 functional trait data. You will employ advanced statistical modelling tool, such as generalized additive mixed models, to relate diversity to threat intensity. The successful candidate will work closely with Professor Andy Purvis (the Principal Investigator).
You must have a PhD in Ecology or Environmental Science or have equivalent level of professional qualifications and experience.  For more details, click HERE
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Information & Communication
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

Information and communication, going hand in hand as should be:
»Lecture near Lake Tahoe: Dr. Howard Spero, UC Davis, will deliver a lecture titled Changing Seas about the earth's climate, climate change throughout history and ocean (and Lake Tahoe) acidification. The date is March 22nd at 5:30PM and the location the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences, 291 Country Club Drive, Incline Village.

»Four wave glider robots made by Liquid Robotics have broken the world distance traveled by unmanned wave power vehicles record by covering over 3,200 nautical miles from San Francisco to Hawaii.  The drones consist of an underwater glider that is attached by a cable to a floating section.  They convert the endless motion of the oceans into forward thrust, allowing them to travel thousands of miles with no fuel consumption.  These new generation of robots are capable of monitoring everything from shrinking fisheries or natural disasters to Ocean Acidification.
Photo credit: Liquid Robotics

»Audio story on Ocean Acidification along the shores of the West Coast by APRN's Steve Heimel. Heimel looks at the circulation patterns that may already be acidifying fish habitat in the Arctic.

»"In order to develop consistent messaging and education and communication tools for ocean acidification, the West Coast National Marine Sanctuaries are partnering with the Monterrey Bay Sanctuary Foundation and Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to host an Effective Practices for Ocean Acidification (OA) Communication and Education workshop.  This workshop is planned to take place in conjunction with and immediately following the International Science Symposium, The Ocean in a High CO2 World: Ocean Acidification, in Monterrey in September 2012.
Following the workshop, the NOAA OA Education working group will develop a National NOAA OA Education Action Plan, which will incorporate some of the results and outcomes from the Effective Practices Workshop.
Topics to be covered during the workshop will include the following:

•    Development and implementation of effective messaging

•    How to frame messaging for varying audiences

•    Linkage of science to education and outreach

•    Creation of a resource inventory to bring together scientific information with educational tools

•    The scope of the problem and its relation to west coast sanctuary and estuary sites and regional as well as national issues

•    Research linkages and regionally relevant case studies including how tangible resource impacts may affect local economies."


»The Darwin Center for Biogeosciences will have a Summer School Program in Utrecht and Texel, the Netherlands, July 1st-12th, 2012.  "Main subjects will be Ocean Acidification, the carbon cycle, microbial ecology, biomarkers, terrestrial carbon cycling and climate reconstructions in the past, present and future."

»The British Oceanographic Data Centre has announced the launch of the data management area for the UK Ocean Acidification (UKOA) research program.  UKOA is a five-year, £12 million research program that started in 2010 and involves 27 institutes in the UK and has close links to other similar programs around the world.
How to gain access UKOA data HERE
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News Wire
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

Woke up today missing Jimmy McNulty, hence the title.  News, unstoppable, like rolling trains filled with sea adventures, awards, money, great videos and mahi mahi.  Who could possibly offer you more?:

MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) researchers started carrying out this past February a three month expedition along the Gulf of California, that 700 mile long finger of water between the peninsula of Baja California and mainland Mexico.  You can check on their website logbook for updates on their research, which involves no less than two vessels, over 25 ROV pilots, 60 scientists plus the ship's crew.  Since the scope of research is quite broad, the expedition has been divided into seven legs, each one lasting around ten days.  Leg number four will be about greenhouse gases in the deep sea.  It will be led by Peter Brewer (buscar) and the marine chemists present will study the behavior of methane and carbon dioxide in the high-pressure and low-temperature environment of the gulf's deep basins.  They are hoping that Brewer's work will help in the design of future experiments to test the effects  of Ocean Acidification on a variety of marine organisms.
Also, check this mesmerizing, soothing and informative video on jellyfish made by MBARI staff.  It won honorable mention in the National Science Foundation's 2011 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.

University of Miami student Sean Bignami has received a $5,000 scholarship as winner of the Guy Harvey Scholarship Award. Mr. Bignami is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. at the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science.  The focus of his study is how the changing chemistry of the marine waters as a result of Ocean Acidification might affect the early development of large marine fish.  His work uses mahi mahi and cobias as case studies.
He intends to devote much of his career to sharing the results of his research with decision-makers to ensure marine resources are managed effectively. He has also been teaching marine science to teachers and students, and for the last two years has worked with the “Science Made Sensible” outreach program, an effort that pairs Miami graduate students in science, math and engineering disciplines with middle school science teachers to provide students with more hands-on learning experiences.
"Communication is often not the strongest of a scientist's skill set, at least not when considering the general public's need for information to be delivered in a simple way that highlights its application to everyday life," Bignami wrote in his scholarship application. "Reaching the public at a young age may be the most important way to instill love and appreciation for the ocean and the services it provides."
Photo credit: UM/RSMAS

Youtube video animation showing "how aragonite saturation at the ocean's surface is projected to decrease towards the end of the 21st century as man-made carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere continues to rise."
The animation was generated as part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and JAMSTEC.

This news piece is not so new.  A team of 19 scientists, using sensors developed at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego reported this past January results about the broadest worldwide Ocean Acidification study to date.  They measured acidity in 15 ocean locations, from the Antarctic to the temperate and tropical seawater and results were very different from one place to the other.  While in places like the Line Islands of the South Pacific and Antarctica the range of pH variance is limited, in sections of the California coast subject to upwelling pH fluctuations are intense.  In some of the study areas the decrease in seawater pH deriving from CO2 emissions was still within bounds of natural pH fluctuation, but other areas already experience daily acidity levels expected to only be seen at the end of the century.
The study was made possible because all sensors were designed by Todd Martz, marine chemistry researcher at Scripps, so he "was in a unique position to assimilate a number of datasets, collected independently by researchers who otherwise would not have been in communication with each other.  Each time someone deployed a sensor they would send me the data, and eventually it became clear that a synthesis should be done to cross-compare this diverse collection of measurements," he said.  That was when Gretchen E. Hofmann, an eco-physiologist and professor in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology, worked with Mr. Martz to put together the research team to create that synthesis.
The authors noted that they only worked with information about coastal surface oceans, so more study is needed in deeper ocean regions further off the coast.
These two great videos show the deployment of a SeaFET pH sensor in the Ross Sea and a chilly visit to a SeaFET sensor in the very deep water under ice near McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

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Reconsider Your Shrimp
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

» Williams College, in Williamstown, Mass. is hosting an Oceans Symposium and next Monday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m., Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer at The New Yorker, will lead a discussion following a showing of A Sea Change, Imagine a World Without Fish.

» Beautiful new documentary on the oceans is out this year: The Last Reef, Cities Beneath The Sea. Go to their website ( and read how this project, that started out as a 3D "macro movie based in Palau", turned into an alarm call on the biggest threat to coral reefs worldwide: Ocean Acidification.

» Reconsider your shrimp.  A one pound bag of frozen shrimp raised on a typical Asian fish farm produces an astounding one ton of CO2.  At a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science biologist J. Boone Kauffman (Oregon State University) developed the comparison to help the public understand the environmental impact of land use decisions.  "The carbon footprint of the shrimp from this land use is about 10-fold greater than the land use carbon footprint of an equivalent amount of beef produced from a pasture formed from a tropical rainforest."
Mr. Kauffman said 50 to 60 percent of shrimp farms are located in tidal zones in Asian countries, mostly on cleared mangrove forests.  The farms are inefficient, producing just one kilogram of shrimp for 13.4 square meters of mangrove, while the ponds created are abandoned in just three to nine years because disease, soil acidification and contamination destroy them.  After abandonment, the soil takes 35 to 40 years to recover.
LINK to the original article, from Agence France Presse.

» Lecture on Ocean Acidification and the Future of Native Oysters in California Estuaries taking place tomorrow, February 24, at noon at Stanford University. It is sponsored by Hopkins Marine Station. More info HERE.

» And from the other side of the Atlantic, "Analyses of the effects of Ocean Acidification on the larval development of Crassostrea gigas", AKA Pacific oyster on Ms. Patrícia Barros Masters Theses. Info HERE.

» New video filled with European flair on Ocean Acidification, the EPOCA program and the public's awareness on the issue.

» Post Doctoral position at IMR.  The Institute of Marine Research has a 3 year position as postdoctoral researcher on the effects of Ocean Acidification on marine zoooplankton, with special emphasis on krill. The position is located in Bergen, Norway. Find out about qualifications and further details HERE.

» The Second UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme annual science meeting will take place at the University of Exeter from Monday, April 16th to Wednesday, April 18th.  If you are a UKOARP particiant you can register online HERE.  For further reading, click HERE.
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Books, Projects and PhDs
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

“All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; and Third, it is accepted as self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

    ¤The European Union is launching this April a new three-year project called Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate (MedSeA).  Its goal is to "assess uncertainties, risks and thresholds related to Mediterranean acidification at organismal, ecosystem and economical scales." From their website it appears that their headquarters are at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, but over 16 institutions from 10 different countries are participating in the project with a total budget of € 6 million.

   ¤ If you have read previous blog posts you know that I often look for jobs and research scholarships on Ocean Acidification. This week I found not one, nor two, but three PhD projects:
1-   The British Antarctic Survey is funding a PhD research project for UK students to assess the impact of Ocean Acidification on life in the sea. The details are quite technical, so it is best if you go to THIS LINK and read further.
2-   The second PhD research project comes from the University of East Anglia and is for European students. The purpose: to characterize the calcium carbonate cycle in the Southern Ocean. Again, go to THIS LINK to learn more.
3-   The University of Exeter offers a three-year funded doctoral studentship starting this coming fall on "The Implications of Ocean Acidification in Combination with Chemical Stressors for Juvenile Fish".  Details HERE.

    ¤The Institute of Marine Research in Tromsø, Norway wants to organize a "Workshop on acidification in aquatic environments: what can marine science learn from limnological studies of acid rain?".  The goal of this workshop is to bring together experts on acid rain with those working on Ocean Acidification to facilitate "discussions focused on questions such as how AR research can inform and cross-fertilize OA research" and "the rates of change of AR and OA and how different organismal groups cope with that over different time scales". The dates: 27th-29th September, 2011.
Soon there will be more information HERE.
You can also contact organizer Howard Browman HERE.

The Tromsø we saw when shooting A Sea Change.

    ¤I am very happy to announce that we have yet another public figure lending his face and voice to defend our oceans. Joining Sigourney Weaver and Sven Huseby, actor Ted Danson has published a book titled "Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them".  Produced together with Oceana, it is said to have beautiful photographs, illustrations and numerous expert testimonies. I have ordered a copy and intend to review it for our site, but for now you can listen to a interview with Mr. Danson on Southern California Public Radio HERE and read an interview HERE if you are thirsty for more information.

    ¤There is another recently published book that has caught my eye. It is titled Deep Future, The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth, by author Curt Stager. I know that during those hypothetical next 100,000 years described throughout the pages he talks about Ocean Acidification, and I'll be able to hand you more detailed information in a couple weeks.  Made you curious enough?  Purchase a copy from Amazon, click HERE.

    ¤NOAA is offering a web seminar to introduce a new "Data-in-the-Classroom Module" on Ocean Acidification; it is aimed at High School science educators. It will go from 6:30 to 8:00PM Eastern Time on April 14th. You can register today HERE and read more about it HERE.

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