Youth Blog Series: Acidic Oceans

https://phys.org/news/2018-02-acid-oceans-dissolve-coral-reef.html

“Ocean acidification” sounds like a very straight forward and self-explanatory term right? Well, the process and implications of ocean acidification are a lot more complicated and profound. For generations, human activities have released too much carbon emissions, and these excessive carbon are being absorbed by Earth’s oceans. In nature, the carbon cycle is a natural process where the balance of carbon release and carbon absorption has sustained terrestrial ecosystems and marine ecosystems for a very long time. However, the excessive carbon particles in oceans are turning ocean water into a coercive and acidic environment that has become dangerous to calcifying organisms by making it difficult for these organisms to survive and build shells. 

 

By now, you may wonder how exactly does ocean acidification affects me and you? The answer lies in the fact that everything on Earth, in particular all the food webs, whether they exist in water or on land, are interwoven and will affect one another. When calcifying organisms can no longer build shells or survive in the increasingly acidic ocean water, its predators, which are the bigger fishes or crabs and other marine species, will also have a hard time surviving due to lack of food abundance. Then, when these larger marine species are decreasing in population, even larger predators, such as the two-legged humans will also be affected because seafood contributes to a substantial part of some societies’ diet. From an ecological standpoint, the survival of lower food chain marine species will have a profound impact on ecosystems and food webs, and from an environmental standpoint, the carbon emissions from human activities are polluting marine environments and degrading biodiversity. In addition, human societies will experience the social and economic drawbacks of ocean acidification because we may need to implement moratoriums on fishing and shellfish industries. 

https://www.mbari.org/climate-change/

Tie in with Student leadership for Change Program

The Ocean Acidification Action pack alerts students about the ocean acidification crisis. Students will learn that human activities have released too much carbon emissions, and these excessive carbon are being absorbed by Earth’s oceans. In nature, the carbon cycle is a natural process where the balance of carbon release and carbon absorption has sustained terrestrial ecosystems and marine ecosystems for a very long time. However, the excessive carbon particles in oceans are turning ocean water into a coercive and acidic environment that has become dangerous to calcifying organisms by making it difficult for these organisms to survive and build shells. The action pack outlines how the disruption of oceans’ pH balance will affect marine food webs and human’s fishing industry and economic well-being. It encourages students to reflect on the environmental, social, and economic consequences of excessive carbon emissions and ocean acidification. To help resolve this issue, the action pack offers many ideas on how individuals can partake in raising awareness and how they can help to reduce carbon emissions. Students can: research about their school’s dependence on fossil fuels, calculate the current carbon footprint of their household and identify areas that contribute the most carbon emissions, or encourage a friend to join them in reducing their CO2 impact on the ocean for 1 month. This action pack is a great resource for students to learn about ocean acidification and the importance of carbon emission reduction. 

This video pairs with the blog post:

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