Thursday, August 06, 2015

More care needed

Crucial ocean-acidification models come up short : Nature News & Comment

Interesting article here, noting that a lot of the uncertainty in working out the ecological effects of ocean acidification  comes from experimenters (especially those at the start of research into this) not being careful enough with the experimental set up. 

I had noticed myself that, over the years, after the initial flurry of reports about the dire effects on different organisms, there followed a lot of considerably more ambiguous reports from tank experiments.   And, yes, it had been noted before that how the water chemistry is altered is important.

But do the researchers writing this paper think this means there is not a serious problem for the oceans?  Nope:
Cornwall says that the “overwhelming evidence” from such studies of the
negative effects of ocean acidification still stands. For example,
more-acidic waters slow the growth and worsen the health of many species
that build structures such as shells from calcium carbonate. But the
pair’s discovery that many of the experiments are problematic makes it
difficult to assess accurately the magnitude of effects of ocean
acidification, and to combine results from individual experiments to
build overall predictions for how the ecosystem as a whole will behave,
he says.
 This article also notes that not enough experiments have looked at the combination of warming water and decreasing pH together.

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