"The Other CO2 Problem"

The Rideway School in Plymouth, UK teamed up with the Plymouth Marine Laboratory to produce “The Other CO2 Problem”, a video on ocean acidification. Not only do they break things down into intelligible parts but they also bring it home by stressing the effects we’ll see on foodwebs that lead all the way up to us (and walruses too). Oregon Sea Grant also recently released summary thoughts from Dr. Richard Feely on ocean acidification. They’re not as entertaining perhaps as claymation but I do like that their videos are short, eye-widening, and to the point.

Dr. Feely focuses on the effect that depressed pH in the oceans may have on calcium carbonate skeleton builders like many invertebrates including corals. Dr. Feely’s predictions that we could see a further pH drop of 0.3 – 0.4 is terrifying. We’ve already experienced a drop of 0.1, nearly a 30% increase in the acidity of the worlds ocean in the sampled series areas including off of Hawaii and in the Caribbean.

What he doesnt mention is one of the intriguing results we may see with acidifying oceans, at least in the beginning: a shift from reef-building (and high pH loving) coral dominated areas to algae, soft coral, or sponge and urchin dominated ones. Researchers are now attempting to figure out what makes shifts feed themselves and how they might be reversed to address the management of reefs and other coastal ecosystems in an acidic future.