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BIOACID at COP23

Members of the BIOACID project will participate in the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn in November 2017. more …

A strong case for limiting climate change

In November 2017, the German research network on ocean acidification BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) reaches its conclusion after eight years of extensive interdisciplinary scientific activity. Experiments and analyses carried out by more than 250 scientists from 20 German institutions clearly indicate that ocean acidification and warming, along with other environmental stressors, impair life in the ocean and compromise important ecosystem services it provides to humankind. A brochure summarises major outcomes of the project for policymakers and the public. BIOACID members will also be present at the United Nations climate change conference COP23 in Bonn.

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New video on ocean acidification research

From the Arctic to the tropics, ocean acidification changes life in the sea. By absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, the ocean slows down global climate change. But in seawater, the greenhouse gas causes a chemical reaction with far-reaching consequences: carbonic acid is formed, and the pH drops. more …

BIOACID goes COP22

Together with Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Labex MER, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Ocean and Climate Platform and the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre, the German research network on ocean acidification, BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) draws negotiators’ attention to ocean change at the Marrakech Climate Change Conference COP22. more …

Photo exhibition about ocean acidification premiered at GEOMAR

In a photo exhibition by the German research network on ocean acidification BIOACID, the two nature photographers Solvin Zankl and Nick Cobbing present BIOACID members at their work and introduce organisms that current ocean acidification research focuses on. The exhibition is a contribution to the Science Year 2016*17 – Seas and Oceans and is presented at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, east shore campus, until 21 October. A website and a web app with further information complement the exhibition. more …

Tropical coral reefs lose two thirds of their zooplankton through ocean acidification

Tropical coral reefs lose up to two thirds of their zooplankton through ocean acidification. This is the conclusion reached by a German-Australian research team that examined two reefs with so-called carbon dioxide seeps off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

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Ocean Acidification threatens cod recruitment in the Atlantic

Increasing ocean acidification could double the mortality of newly-hatched cod larvae. This would put populations of this economically important fish species more and more under pressure if exploitation remains unchanged. For the first time ever, members of the German research network BIOACID have quantified mortality rates of cod in the western Baltic Sea and the Barents Sea more …

Rising water temperatures and acidification affect important plankton organism

In an experiment with organisms from the Kiel Fjord, a team of biologists from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel demonstrated for the first time, that ocean acidification and rising water temperatures harms the fatty acid composition of copepods in the natural plankton community.

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Double whammy for important Baltic seaweed

Rising seawater temperatures and increased nutrient concentrations could lead to a decline of the bladder wrack Fucus vesiculosus in the Baltic Sea in the future, according to experiments conducted by marine scientists from Kiel and Rostock. The results show how important it is to examine the responses of organisms to a combination of environmental factors, the biologists point out in two current publications. Because Fucus forests function as a long-term nutrient storage in coastal waters and serve as a nursery for economically important fish species such as cod, their decline could have consequences for the economy and society. more …

Looking back into the future: Are corals able to resist a declining pH?

Tropical Porites corals adjust their internal pH in order to enable themselves to form calcium carbonate and grow under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations – even for a longer period of time. In order to understand the ability of pH regulation in more detail, researchers of GEOMAR have used the boron isotope method to examine samples of corals that have existed at natural carbon dioxide vents in Papua New Guinea for decades. Analyses of these long-term acclimated individuals complement shorter laboratory and field experiments, the team explains in the “Scientific Reports”. Only these kind of investigations were able to reveal that the Porites corals’ adaptability has its limits. more …

How ocean acidification affects society

In cooperation with potentially affected stakeholders, Scientists from the University of Bremen have developed an ecosystem model that integrates the relevant environmental processes and examines ecological changes and their socio-economic implications. more …

Calcification – does it pay off in the future ocean?

Coccolithophores, single-celled phytoplankton, which plays a vital role in marine biogeochemical cycling, in marine food webs and in the global climate system, has developed a variety of calcareous shells to protect itself against predation and damage. But this requires a lot of energy – and the price for the artful armour could rise further due to global change. With the help of a new model, an international research team analysed the energetic costs and benefits of calcification. The results suggest that the ecological niche for calcifying algae will become narrower in the future. more …

Ocean acidification – the limits of adaptation

The most abundant single-celled calcifying alga of the world’s oceans, Emiliania huxleyi is basically able to adapt to ocean acidification through evolution. However, the longest evolution experiment that has been conducted with this organism so far shows, that the potential for adaptation is not as large as initially expected. The growth rate under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations has not improved significantly after four years. Calcification was even lower than in today’s cells from Emiliania huxleyi. The study shows that the effects of evolution in phytoplankton are more complex than previously thought.

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Ocean acidification softens important benthic habitat former

A main habitat-forming coralline red alga will be affected by elevated carbon dioxide concentrations in the seawater, according to an international team of scientists. Experiments conducted at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and measurements carried out at GEOMAR, University of Bristol and the University of Western Australia, revealed that Lithothamnion glaciale might lose its robustness towards erosion and predation. The basis of benthic ecosystems rich in biodiversity may thus be at risk. The findings about the species’ susceptibility against ocean acidification published at Scientific Reports also raise the question if coralline algae are a reliable indicator of paleo temperatures. more …

Young marine scientists making a difference at the Paris Climate Conference

Marine Scientists from France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany presented ocean research at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris. Especially young scientists benefitted greatly from participating in the climate summit. more …

BIOACID at COP21

At two booths in the public and the UN area, BIOACID members inform about their work and answer questions about the problem of ocean acidification and other topics of marine sciences.

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Research network on ocean acidification on its final stretch

An in-depth assessment of possible impacts of ocean acidification on the environment, society and economy and the development of management options for decision makers are the primary goals of the German research network BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification), now entering its final funding period. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the third phase with 4.3 million Euros.

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Public UKOA and BIOACID meeting in London

A two-day public meeting at the Royal Society, London on 4-5 June, 2015 will discuss the latest scientific findings arising from the UK Ocean Acidification (UKOA) research programme and the German partnership programme, Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification (BIOACID). more …

Via Laser into the Past of the Oceans

Using cutting edge technologies experts of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel together with colleagues from the UK, Canada and the United States were able to reconstruct pH values of the Northern Pacific with a high resolution since the end of the 19th century. The study, which has been published in the current issue of the international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), reveals a clear acidification trend, but also strong seasonal fluctuations.

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Cool deep-water protects coral reefs against heat stress

Cool currents from the deep ocean could save tropical corals from lethal heat stress. Researchers from Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and Phuket Marine Biological Center observed internal waves preserving corals in the Andaman Sea. Because satellites do not detect these small-scale phenomena, local measurements are crucial for the establishment and monitoring of protected areas, the scientists point out in the January issue of the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B”.

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New challenges for ocean acidification research

To continue its striking development, ocean acidification research needs to bridge between its diverging branches towards an integrated assessment. This is the conclusion drawn by Prof. Ulf Riebesell from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and Dr. Jean-Pierre Gattuso from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Université Pierre et Marie Curie. In a commentary in the journal “Nature Climate Change”, the two internationally renowned experts reflect on the lessons learned from ocean acidification research and highlight future challenges. more …

The oceans’ sensitive skin

Ocean acidification might alter climate-relevant functions of the oceans’ uppermost layer, according to a study by a group of marine scientists published in the “Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans”. In an experiment led by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the researchers observed a close coupling between biological processes in the seawater and the chemistry of the sea surface microlayer. Also, they noted a growing number of specialised bacterial and algal cells in this microenvironment. These changes might influence interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere such as the air-sea gas exchange and the emission of sea-spray aerosols that can scatter solar radiation or contribute to the formation of clouds.

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Deep-water boost for a community exposed to ocean change

In a long-term field study led by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, an international team of scientists investigates the effects of ocean acidification on pelagic ecosystems in the subtropical Atlantic. The field experiment with the KOSMOS mesocosms off Gran Canary now culminates in the simulation of deep-water upwelling – an event that can boost productivity in these nutrient-starving waters. For this purpose, the researchers developed an 80,000 litres deep-water collector. more …

Sensitive youngsters

Young sea stars from the Baltic Sea suffer more from the effects of ocean acidification than adults. In a laboratory experiment, scientists from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel showed that younger animals already eat less and grow more slowly at only slightly elevated carbon dioxide concentrations. Their results are now published in the journal “Marine Ecology Progress Series”.

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Small algae with great potential

The single most important calcifying algae of the world’s oceans is able to simultaneously adapt to rising water temperatures and ocean acidification through evolution. A unique long-term experiment with the species Emiliania huxleyi at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel shows that the evolutionary potential of the algae is much greater than previously thought. In their laboratory evolution experiment, the scientists have shown for the first time that evolutionary adaptations to multiple stress factors do not necessarily interfere with each other. Further work will reveal how evolution in ocean microbes may affect the function of the ocean in removing carbon dioxide to the deep sea and whether or not laboratory findings can be translated into the natural ocean environment.

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New developments in ocean acidification research

Five years after their first “kick-off” at GEOMAR, the members of the German research network on ocean acidification BIOACID gathered again in Kiel. In addition to providing an overview of ongoing activities, presenting research highlights of recent developments, and planning upcoming work, a new brochure in German language was launched at the annual meeting 2014.

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Lophelia, how are you?

How do cold-water corals react to changing environmental conditions such as rising water temperatures and ocean acidification? Will the fragile reefs survive climate change? more …

Re-defining a key role

Rising carbon dioxide emissions do not only cause global warming. The greenhouse gas also dissolves in seawater and leads to ocean acidification. Two recent studies by members of the research group for Microbial Biogeochemistry at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel show how the oceans’ uptake of carbon dioxide on the one hand stimulates the growth of marine bacteria and the decomposition of organic material in the upper layer. On the other hand, it may also facilitate the transport of particles to the depth. In coastal waters such as the Baltic Sea, ocean acidification could thus reinforce the lo more …

Meeting the eye-witnesses of ocean change

Members of the German research network BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) are developing a model that links ecosystem changes triggered by ocean acidification and climate change with their economic and societal consequences. Workshops and interviews with stakeholders from the Norwegian fishing industry and tourism sector, the government and environmental organisations help them to identify key aspects for their assessment.

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Acidifying the Atlantic

For the first time, an international team of 70 marine scientists investigates impacts of ocean acidification on pelagic ecosystems. Biologists, chemists, biogeochemists and physical oceanographers cooperate closely to analyse responses to projected future ocean change. The field experiment with the KOSMOS mesocosms is conducted at Taliarte, Gran Canaria as a joint activity of the German research networks BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) and SOPRAN (Surface Ocean Processes in the Anthropocene) between January and April 2014.

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Remember Darwin!

Evolutionary adaptation to ocean acidification has to be taken into account when projecting the future of marine ecosystems, says a team of scientists from Canada, Australia, the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and Germany in a review published this week in the international journal “Trends in Ecology and Evolution” (TREE). more …

New priorities to address ocean acidification impacts

The first meeting of the Ocean Acidification international Reference User Group (OAiRUG)  took place from 2-4 December 2013 at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco. The OAiRUG is working with research projects on ocean acidification and with the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre to examine in detail the types of data, analyses and products that are most useful to managers, policy advisers, decision makers and politicians. It will also ensure optimal communication and distribution of these tools. more …

Open online course on climate change offered by The World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is launching its first open online course on climate change and ocean acidification. The series of lectures starts on January 27th, 2014. Registration at the education platform Coursera is open already.

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Ocean acidification: Hard to digest

Ocean acidification impairs digestion in marine organisms, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Researchers from Sweden and Germany have studied the larval stage of green sea urchins Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis. The results show that the animals have problems digesting food in acidified water.

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Expert assessment: Ocean acidification may increase 170 per cent this century

In a major new international report, experts conclude that the acidity of the world’s ocean may increase by around 170 per cent by the end of the century bringing significant economic losses. People who rely on the ocean’s ecosystem services – often in developing countries – are especially vulnerable.

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Ocean acidification exhibition stand and event at COP19

When the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meets in Warsaw in November 2013, an exhibition stand and an official side event will provide information on ocean acidification. Europe’s research programmes joined forces with partners to communicate about “the other carbon dioxide problem”. more …

Escaping the warmth

As a result of climate change the Atlantic cod has moved so far north that it’s juveniles now can even be found in large numbers in the fjords of Spitsbergen. This is the conclusion reached by biologists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), following an expedition to this specific region of the Arctic Ocean, which used to be dominated by the Polar cod. The scientists now plan to investigate whether the two cod species compete with each other and which species can adapt more easily to the altered habitats in the Arctic.

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Cooperation across disciplines brings important new insights

One year after the start of the second phase, the members of the German research network BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) informed each other about the current status of their work. Their preliminary results suggest important insights into the impacts of ocean acidification on marine life and their consequences both for society and economy. The meeting was held on October 1 and 2, 2013 at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Warnemünde (IOW).

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A journey into the future ocean

How do marine ecosystems respond to ocean acidification? Can marine communities adapt to a changing environment? In an unprecedented long-term experiment, 69 scientists from 12 European research institutes and universities studied the development of the plankton community and fish larvae in acidified waters. After the successful completion of the study, the German research vessel ALKOR returns the ten KOSMOS mesocosms and a large number of samples to Kiel. The work was carried out in the framework of the German project on ocean acidification BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean ACIDification), and lead by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.

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Natural CO2-rich reefs as windows to the future

From 14 May to 11 June 2013, members of consortium 3 conducted research off the northeastern coast of Normanby Island, Papua New Guinea (09°49.455’S, 150°49.073’E) aboard the MV Chertan with captain Rob van der Loos and his crew. The purpose of the cruise was to determine how marine organisms are acclimated to long-term ocean acidification and the resulting effect on biogeochemical cycles by studying organisms living in naturally CO2-rich coral reefs.

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Fast-sinking jellyfish could boost the oceans’ uptake of carbon dioxide

How much more carbon dioxide (CO2) will the oceans be able to take up? To find out more about the efficiency of this service, scientists estimate the sinking velocities of organisms involved in the biological pump. Increasing numbers of gelatinous plankton might help in mitigating the CO2 problem. In field and laboratory experiments scientists from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel has shown that dead jellyfish and pelagic tunicates sink much faster than phytoplankton and marine snow remains. Jellies are especially important because they rapidly consume plankton and particles and quickly export biomass and carbon to the ocean interior.

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A Key Experiment to Probe the Future of Our Acidifying Oceans

Report about the current KOSMOS 2013 mesocosm experiment in Kristineberg. more …

Atlantic cod for even more stress?

Researchers have known for some years that the Atlantic cod beats the retreat in the direction of the Arctic when the waters in its traditional habitat become too warm. In summer, shoals from the Atlantic Ocean, for example, are now moving up as far as Spitsbergen into the waters the Arctic cod calls its own. In the next two and a half years, biologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, together with scientists from Kiel, Bremen, Düsseldorf and Münster, will be seeking to discover the consequences of this climate-related migration on the stocks of these two commercial fish species, how the fish are responding to the water becoming warmer and more acidic and at which stages of life the changes are most dangerous to them. The first investigations are already in progress as part of the joint project BIOACID with focus placed on the early life stages.  more …

A window on future ocean change

From January to June 2013, more than 60 European scientists will conduct a worldwide unique long-term experiment on ocean acidification at the west coast of Sweden. To study how natural marine communities develop in response to acidifying waters, the scientists will deploy a large-scale mesocosm facility in the Gullmar Fjord. The field experiment, which takes place in the framework of the German project on ocean acidification BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean ACIDification), is coordinated by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.

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A steep learning curve

Ocean acidification, caused by the uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, is a significant stressor to marine life. more …

Acidic Water Impacts Sea Urchins

Increasing ocean acidification can have negative effects on calcifying marine organisms. A new study of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel University and the University of Gothenburg demonstrates that sea urchin larvae grow and build up their calcium skeletons more slowly if their development has to take place in acidified sea water. In an article in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Na-tional Academy of the Sciences, the scientists point out potential mechanisms of effect. The study was carried out within the scope of the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Re-search) coordinated project BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) and the Cluster of Excellence “The Future Ocean”.

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German research project on ocean acidification extended for a second three-year funding period

The German coordinated research project on ocean acidification BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) is extended for another three-year funding period. Since September 2012, 14 institutions investigate how marine ecosystems react to ocean acidification, how this affects the food chain and the exchange of material and energy in the ocean and how the changes influence the socio-economic sector. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports the project with 8.77 million Euros. BIOACID is coordinated by GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.

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Evolution at the Sea

Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR) conducted a one year CO2 selection experiment using the calcifying microalgae Emiliania huxleyi and uncovered an enormous potential for adaptation to rapidly changing environments in this important phytoplankton species. After 500 generations under controlled CO2 conditions adapted cultures grew and calcified significantly better compared non-adapted control cultures when tested under ocean acidification conditions. These findings show for the first time that evolutionary adaptation may help to mitigate harmful effects of ocean acidification. Still, this is not an all-clear signal for ocean acidification. The results are published in the current issue of Nature Geoscience. more …

Ocean acidification threatens fish stocks

Fish stocks are not only threatened by over-fishing. An international research group led by the GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel has now found evidence for potentially harmful effects the increasing acidification of the oceans may have on larvae of commercially important fish species such as cod. The study was published today in the internationally renowned journal Nature Climate Change.

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