Safety in Numbers? Not So for Corals
"The last 10 thousand years have been especially beneficial for corals. Acropora species, such as table coral, elkhorn coral and staghorn coral, were favored in competition due to their rapid growth. This advantageous rapid growth may have been attained in part by neglecting investment in few defenses against predation, hurricanes, or warm seawater. Acropora species have porous skeletons, extra thin tissue, and low concentrations of carbon and nitrogen in their tissues. The abundant corals have taken an easy road to living a rich and dominating life during the present interglacial period, but the payback comes when the climate becomes less hospitable.”
University of Hawaii (2013, November 15). Safety in numbers? Not so for corals. ScienceDaily.
Silly Acropora cut corners in Evolution class.
Yeb Sano says devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan has left him determined to fight for ambitious climate deal in Warsaw
“We have not seen any money from the rich countries to help us to adapt … We cannot go on like this. It cannot be a way of life that we end up running always from storms,” he says.
Sano acknowledges it is currently hard to attribute single events to climate change. IPCC climate scientists currently have ‘low confidence’ that the intensity of tropical cyclones has increased since the 1950s, although they believe it is ‘likely’ they will increase in the late 21st century.
Instead, he points to Bopha and Haiyan as a warning of what is to come for coastal communities in South Asia.
“The physics is quite simple, that if you have warming oceans it will generate storms, especially intense storms,” he says.
“Climate change means we face a future where super typhoons will no longer be one-in-one hundred year events… and we refuse to accept a process that will allow a future where Super Typhoons would happen every year, and that’s what happening.”
NOTE: Yeb Sano is now fasting until the participants make meaningful progress! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24899647
Skeptics Vs Reality
Average of NASA GISS, NOAA NCDC, and HadCRUT4 monthly global surface temperature anomalies from January 1970 through November 2012 (green) with linear trends applied to the time frames Jan ‘70 - Oct ‘77, Apr ‘77 - Dec ‘86, Sep ‘87 - Nov ‘96, Jun ‘97 - Dec ‘02, and Nov ‘02 - Nov ‘12.
via The Guardian
XPRIZE dives into Earth’s final frontier – our oceans and their future health
Scientific funding foundation launches new prizes for research into acidification, climate change, garbage and other issues.
The XPRIZE Foundation, once known for competitions for spaceflight innovation, has turned its focus to the seas, launching a series of new prizes for ocean health over the next seven years.
The Ocean Initiative represents the biggest XPRIZE commitment to date, reinforcing earlier competitions for devices to monitor ocean acidification and clean up oil spills.
"The oceans are in trouble. They have been under attack for the last half century, and we do feel we are at a tipping point right now,” said Wendy Schmidt, who is sponsoring the prizes, and is president of the Schmidt Family Foundation and co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute.
The prizes mark the first time the XPRIZE has decided to concentrate on a specific research area. “Prizes in the past have been serendipitous – whatever comes along,” Schmidt said. “Getting this much focus on the inner space is definitely an important thing, I think, for this generation.”
Scientists say oceans remain the last great unknown – and research funding is drying up. Outfitting research vessels or embarking on “grand projects”, such as mapping the ocean floor, remain prohibitively expensive, out of reach of government scientific agencies or public research institutions.
Meanwhile, oceans are under threat from climate change, which is changing the chemistry of sea water, overfishing, and plastic pollution.
The competition launched on Tuesday will invite the public to help design the challenges for innovators, with a view to awarding between three and five prizes over the next decade.
Potential competitions include prizes for innovations in dealing with dead zones, such as those in the Gulf of Mexico, overfishing, which is threatening global food supply, or the great Pacific garbage patch, a vast swathe of remote ocean strewn with plastic debris.
The XPRIZE Foundation took a first dive into ocean health in the wake of the BP oil spill, offering $1.4m prize for the creation of a more efficient oil spill clean-up device.
The foundation last month returned with a new $2m prize for devices to monitor ocean acidification.
With the latest prize announcement, Schmidt and Peter Diamandis, the chairman of the XPRIZE foundation, said they would appeal to the public, as well as seek expert advice, to identify the most urgent challenges to ocean health. “There is not very much money being spent on ocean research, and the impact on humanity is so large. This might be a great place for crowd sourcing to have an impact,” Diamandis said.
The prize competition last month announced a $2m competition for devices that can monitor the changing chemistry of the oceans due to climate change.
Oceans have absorbed nearly a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for climate change.
With greenhouse gas emissions, oceans are now about 30% more acidic than during the pre-industrial age, a shift that is devastating coral reefs and fisheries, and threatening food supplies.
The $2m competition announced last month will be split into two prizes – one aimed at research institutions for a highly accurate deep-water acidity monitor, the other for a more affordable monitor for shallow waters. The prizes will be announced in 2015.
Suzanne Goldenberg US environment correspondent
theguardian.com, Tuesday 22 October 2013
Photo: Commercial fishermen and other mariners form the words ‘acid ocean’ in Alaska in a 2009 protest against fossil fuel acidification Photograph: Lou Dematteis/REUTERS
Coral Itself May Play Important Role in Regulating Local Climate: Coral Chemicals Protect Against Warming Oceans
Australian marine scientists have found the first evidence that coral itself may play an important role in regulating local climate.
They have discovered that the coral animal — not just its algal symbiont — makes an important sulphur-based molecule with properties to assist it in many ways, ranging from cellular protection in times of heat stress to local climate cooling by encouraging clouds to form.
These findings have been published in the science journal Nature.
The researchers have shown that the coral animal makes dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP). “The characteristic ‘smell of the ocean’ is actually derived from this compound, indicating how abundant the molecule is in the marine environment. In fact we could smell it in a single baby coral,” says AIMS chemist Cherie Motti, and co-author on the paper.
The sulphur-based molecules also serve as nuclei for the formation of water droplets in the atmosphere — and hence help to create clouds. If coral numbers decline, the scientists warn, there could be a major decrease in the production of DMSP and this, in turn, will impede cloud formation.
"Cloud production, especially in the tropics, is an important regulator of climate — because clouds shade Earth and reflect much of the sun’s heat back into space. If fewer clouds are produced, less heat will be reflected — which ultimately will lead to warmer sea surface temperatures," Dr Raina explains.
Science in Public. “Coral itself may play important role in regulating local climate: Coral chemicals protect against warming oceans.” ScienceDaily, 23 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.
Photo Credit: © borisoff / Fotolia
In a world-first, scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) have shown that tropical corals have the ability to fight back against acidifying oceans caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide.
While the threat of coral bleaching from higher sea-surface temperatures and direct human impacts still present serious risks to the long-term prospects for coral reefs, the research findings suggest that many corals have the ability to largely offset the effects of increasingly acidic oceans.
Researchers used a boron isotope technique to calculate the effects of the acidification process on coral growth rate and found that almost all coral species are able to reduce the pH of the seawater they take in
Experts from around the world share their opinions with the BBC.
Tiny Plankton Could Have Big Impact On Climate: CO2-Hungry Microbes Might Short-Circuit the Marine Foodweb
As the climate changes and oceans’ acidity increases, tiny plankton seem set to succeed. An international team of marine scientists has found that the smallest plankton groups thrive under elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. This could cause an imbalance in the food web as well as decrease ocean CO2 uptake, an important regulator of global climate. The results of the study, conducted off the coast of Svalbard, Norway, in 2010, are now compiled in a special issue published in Biogeosciences, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.
"If the tiny plankton blooms, it consumes the nutrients that are normally also available to larger plankton species," explains Ulf Riebesell, a professor of biological oceanography at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany and head of the experimental team. This could mean the larger plankton run short of food.
Large plankton play an important role in carbon export to the deep ocean, but in a system dominated by the so-called pico- and nanoplankton, less carbon is transported out of surface waters. “This may cause the oceans to absorb less CO2 in the future,” says Riebesell.
Source: Science Daily
(Photo Credit: Ulf Riebesell/GEOMAR)
MAAMB: I did my dissertation on a similar experiment. An all round fantastic research experience, though marine alpha-proteobacteria are hardly as exciting. Seriously, don’t knock lab work until you’ve tried it. My lab book was a work of art, because I am a bit OCD about those kind of things. Until I got to the real world where you realise there really isn’t time for that sort of malarky. *Looks shamefully at state of work notebook*
Awesome, really awesome!
Global temperature averages over the years, converted to notes on the cello. It’s one of the more haunting songs you’ve ever heard, for many reasons.
Looks like we’re gonna need to switch to a viola pretty soon.