Hello everyone, This blog starts out with a question (feel free to answer in the comment section below.) How long have you all been in the field of aquatic sports? In this time have you noticed any type of change in the oceans? If so, where: coral reefs, marine life, pH, temperature, general look and feel?
Ok so a bit of a serious eco blog today. I know, I know, frivolity is highly underrated, but Swish is dedicated to bringing you an eco-friendly company in all respects. Plus as aquatic sport professionals, marine conservation is a topic near to our hearts.
The world's oceans are predominantly present in all of Earth's eco systems due to their ability to regulate biogeochemical cycles by uptaking atmospheric CO2. As such the oceans currently take up approximately 50% of all anthropogenic CO2 (CNRS, 2009). Well one might think that is great news! Way to put a stop to global warming Oceans! However, this absorption of atmospheric CO2 has negative impacts on the ocean. Specifically, it leads to acidification in the ocean which is becoming more and more prevalent as anthropogenic CO2 (a greenhouse gas) rises.
Ocean pH levels are normally slightly alkaline, but as CO2 dissolves it forms carbonic acid with an increasing hydrogen ion (H+) concentration. This causes the ocean's pH level to become more acidic, hence acidification of the ocean.
So what does this mean for you my aquatic sport friends? Long term consequences have been hard to predict due to the underlying variable of temperatures, currents, mixing, stratification, etc.
It has been projected that the largest impact will be on calcifying organism, more specifically coral, shellfish, pteropods and coccolithophores as the decreased carbonate ions inhibit the production of carbonate skeletons. This, in conjunction with rising sea temperatures and coral bleaching, has lead to massive coral destruction in most parts of the world.
As we know, the marine ecosystem is highly connected. Coral destruction will in turn effect larger ocean dynamics greatly. Meaning that habitats that support the base of the food chain will be destroyed, affecting all trophic levels.
Divers, we all know how this will affect your sport, there will be less diversity and abundance of aquatic life. Have you guys already seen this happening? If so where? Let us know!
To everyone else in aquatic sports what have you seen / felt as a result of the acidification of the ocean?
New research is needed in order to better determine what the exact effects of ocean acidification will be, as well as to determine a course of action.
To learn more read this great in depth article from the NRDC about ocean acidication.