Human activities are altering the chemistry, temperature, and sea level of the world’s oceans and research at Bodega Marine Laboratory seeks to understand how these global environmental changes influence coastal marine ecosystems. Rising CO2 also affects the temperature and chemistry of the ocean, which can have negative impacts on many kinds of marine life. As the ocean absorbs CO2 emissions, the pH of seawater decreases and it becomes more acidic. To understand how ocean conditions are changing, researchers use oceanographic buoy and moored sensor platforms to continuously monitor temperature and pH. Researchers also use shipboard measurements of seawater chemistry with laboratory and field studies to study the biological effects of ocean acidification. Oceanographers also study the changes in the strength of upwelling, and the depth from which waters are brought to the surface. Given that deeper upwelled waters are not only colder but also have lower pH, an increase in upwelling winds alone may result in acidification, or weakening winds may mitigate changes in deepwater chemistry. Experiments on the native oyster (Ostrea lurida) indicate that oyster larvae and juveniles may be quite vulnerable to decreasing pH and changes in the calcium carbonate saturation state.
Climate Change in Marine Systems