Global change puts plankton under threat

May 04, 2012
Marine plankton under the microscope

Changes in the ocean’s chemistry, as a result of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, threaten marine plankton to a greater extent than previously thought, according to new research.

The research, published in Nature , revealed around half the CO2 released through human activity dissolves in the ocean, where it forms carbonic acid leading to a decrease in seawater pH.

Scientists found the changes in the pH levels, along with global warming, could lead to poor growth if not death of .

Professor John Beardall from the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University collaborated with international researchers from Swansea University’s Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, who led the study, the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, the University of Dundee and the University of Technology in Sydney.

Professor Beardall said the impact that ocean acidification-induced changes have on plankton was a major concern.

“This research suggests the impact of oceanic acidification upon marine plankton could be more serious than previously thought,” Professor Beardall said.

“Acidity levels will more than double by the end of the century as a result of the increase in CO2 levels in the ocean, but it is unclear how the growth of plankton will respond to this increase.”

Using mathematical modelling and their understanding of cellular physiology, the team has found that many marine plankton will experience a substantially more acidic environment than currently suggested.

Professor Beardall plans to develop the research further to understand the effects of ocean acidification and other aspects of climate change on key Australian phytoplankton species.

Explore further: Risks from extreme weather are 'significant and increasing'

More information: Nature Climate Change doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1489

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kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (11) May 04, 2012
Sounds like we need to design de-acidification plants in order to survive this change or at-least slow it down.

What about making algae farms that we can design in such a way that de-acidifies the ocean. We can use the algae for fuel and food.
aennen
5 / 5 (3) May 04, 2012
You might want to look at the effect polution also has on the oceans. In general we need to clean our act up all around not just one area.
kaasinees
1.9 / 5 (8) May 04, 2012
You might want to look at the effect polution also has on the oceans. In general we need to clean our act up all around not just one area.


Very true, we need to make changes in every area and we can slow this pollution down.

In my idea we can decrease fossil fuel usage and clean up at the same time. This way we create a carbon cycle instead of outputting more new greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere
Sean_W
3.2 / 5 (9) May 04, 2012
"Using mathematical modelling and their understanding of cellular physiology, the team has found that many marine plankton will experience a substantially more acidic environment than currently suggested."

Mathematical models? To see if CO2 increases affects plankton growth? You know what they would have done in the old days to find out if increased CO2 affected plankton growth? He's a hint: it involves aquariums.
gregor1
2.1 / 5 (8) May 04, 2012
My understanding is that Atmospheric CO2 levels are higher now than they have been for 800,000 years which is the blink of an eye when compared to how long plankton plankton have been around. I'm thinking these guys are ants trying to describe an elephant.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (13) May 04, 2012
I am sure all the AGWites believe in evolution but they must have no faith in evolution.
Life of all sorts have been evolving and adapting to earth's climate changes for quite some time now.
gregor1
1.6 / 5 (9) May 04, 2012
I don't think they , and the editor at Nature Climate Change, do. Apparently only anthropogenic CO2 causes the oceans to acidify
"Anthropogenically released CO2 is dissolving in the ocean, causing a decrease in bulk-seawater pH (ocean acidification)."
This looks like the pristine environment myth and a pristine environment means no evolution at all. The last I checked CO2 is CO2 but perhaps they've found a way to differentiate the evil man made stuff. Then again , perhaps this is just hyperbole. Our climate science community my be struggling to get back to a Garden of Eden that doesn't exist.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (10) May 04, 2012
One type of life humans try to kill, bacteria, keep evolving and adapting to the antibiotics.
Many plankton are bacteria, too.
gregor1
2.3 / 5 (9) May 05, 2012
But, in the minds of some in the environment movement, bacteria have the same intrinsic right to exist as humans. Ring Peta now! Equal rights for bacteria!
Irukanji
2.3 / 5 (6) May 05, 2012
But, in the minds of some in the environment movement, bacteria have the same intrinsic right to exist as humans. Ring Peta now! Equal rights for bacteria!


Rofl.

I think the biggest problem with the planet is that big companies are allowed to get away with "accidental" dumpings of tens of tons of heavy metals and they get a slap on the wrist and a few hundred thousand in fines. It's a complete sham, just like this "human-induced climate change" stuff.
Egleton
2.2 / 5 (5) May 05, 2012
Plankton are more important than Humans. They can live without us. We cannot live without them.
No matter. The great human die-off is about to begin regardless of any ones strongly held opinions.
Go tell your paymasters you want an advance.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) May 05, 2012
They can live without us. We cannot live without them.

The truth is reveled. AGWites are just selfish.
But then why do so many say they want to reduce or eliminate the human parasites on the planet?
kaasinees
2.8 / 5 (9) May 05, 2012
One type of life humans try to kill, bacteria, keep evolving and adapting to the antibiotics.
Many plankton are bacteria, too.

Why would humans try to kill themselves?
Nevermind stupid question..
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (13) May 05, 2012
One type of life humans try to kill, bacteria, keep evolving and adapting to the antibiotics.
Many plankton are bacteria, too.

Why would humans try to kill themselves?
Nevermind stupid question..

It is a good question. Why do 'progressives' want more humans to disappear?
Tom Clancy described these people quite well in Rainbow Six. Kill all humans except a chosen few.
kaasinees
2.6 / 5 (10) May 05, 2012
No, you f'in retard.
You were saying we try to kill bacteria but we need them in order to function...
Damn, we need an eugenic over here.
NotParker
1 / 5 (10) May 05, 2012
I had no idea the ocean was capable of discriminating against the 97% of CO2 created by nature. These scientists are on drugs.

Acidity levels will more than double by the end of the century as a result of the increase in CO2 levels in the ocean, but it is unclear how the growth of plankton will respond to this increase.

Using mathematical modelling ....


... they made sh*t up so they get more grants.
gregor1
1.9 / 5 (9) May 05, 2012
So you're a Malthusian then Egleton and your hypothesis , that mankind is about to die off,is unfalsifiable and therefore nonsense.I suggest, when intellectually challenged, you revert to the scientific method. But then perhaps you've been listening to Ehrlich
http://thegwpf.or...ket.html
gregor1
1.8 / 5 (10) May 06, 2012
Or perhaps you think we should forcibly sterilize people in the developing world on the basis of your nonsense
http://www.guardi...on-india
slack
1.7 / 5 (6) May 06, 2012
Why is the article on Physorg titled "Global change puts plankton under threat" when the summary of the referenced study states the following "However, it is unclear how the growth of plankton is likely to respond."?
Anyone case to guess?
Howhot
3.9 / 5 (7) May 06, 2012
Why is the article on Physorg titled "Global change puts plankton under threat" when the summary of the referenced study states the following "However, it is unclear how the growth of plankton is likely to respond."?
Anyone case to guess?


Well, if you were plankton, would you grow in Acidic Water? Would you like your calcium carbonate shell to dissolve?

The question about how plankton responds to ocean acidification has been reported before and the answer is not very well. Acidification could kill the ocean. What is remarkable is this is happening right now and our oceans could be dead in 200 years or less.

ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (14) May 06, 2012
Acidification could kill the ocean.

"These organisms are adapted to living under multiple combinations of hostile conditions, including hot and acidic, hot and sulfidic, hot and alkaline, or hot and filled with toxic heavy metals.

Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Basin is a beautiful example of a hot spring. It is 300 feet across and its blue center is the product of uncommonly pure water bubbling up into the pool's center. All of the other colors are the product of photosynthetic, thermophilic (heat loving) bacteria flourishing in the boiling water. These bacteria survive temperatures ranging from 147°F (64°C) to 225°F (107°C)."
"They feed on the sulfur-rich water that seeps into caves, and they live ensconced in a biofilm that protects them from the sulfuric acid in their environment"
http://www.calaca...arth.php
Howhot
3.9 / 5 (7) May 06, 2012
Yes, it is true R2 that there are some lovely bacteria that live in Yellowstone in hot springs, geysers, mud pots and pools. Yes, the evolution of life are remarkable for it's ability to adapt over hundreds of thousands of years. Ever been to Yellowstone? Beautiful place by the way. But as awesome of an example of adaptation as that is, the diatoms of the ocean are a completely different and fragile stock. The diatoms and plankton are the very bottom of the food chain. If they go, so does the food chain. The diatoms and planktons that make up the oceans food chain can't take acidic conditions. The sulfur springs of Yellow stone would be instant death to the types of life I'm talking about. There maybe some types of plankton that could survive but you will only find out after 3/4 of the ocean is dead.

ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (13) May 06, 2012
If they go, so does the food chain.

"The sky is falling the sky is falling!"
I guess you choose to ignore the obvious, bacteria ADAPT quite well.
For someone who MUST believe in evolution, you have NO faith it in.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) May 06, 2012
"unclear how the growth of plankton will respond to this increase."
Read this study:

"Scientists at a German research institute have come up with an interesting finding. In a study concluded recently, it became evident that tiny armored creatures that usually float along the surface of the ocean can adapt and survive in the rapidly changing environment."
http://www.ecofri...rld.html
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (12) May 06, 2012
"Researchers fret that many species of invertebrates will disappear as the oceans acidify due to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). But a new study concludes that some of these species may benefit from ocean acidification, growing bigger shells or skeletons that provide more protection. The work suggests that the effects of increased CO2 on marine environments will be more complex than previously thought."
"The fourth CO2 level was 10 times pre-Industrial levels. Although CO2 levels won't rise that high in our lifetime, Ries says they could within 500 to 700 years. The atmosphere did contain that much CO2 during the Cretaceous period about 100 million years ago, "
""This is an interval in which many of these organisms lived and apparently did okay, despite the extremely elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 that existed at that time."

Blue crabs, lobsters, and shrimp prospered in the highest CO2 level, growing heavier shells, the researchers report today in Geology. "
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) May 06, 2012
Link to previous:

http://news.scien...-01.html
"The take-home message is that the responses to ocean acidification are going to be a lot more nuanced and complex than we thought," Ries says."

But Hottie KNOWS the sky is falling.
Howhot
4 / 5 (4) May 06, 2012
I'm glad to see your studying up on CO2/Acidic oceans (from fossil fuel burning BTW) and its effects on diatoms and planktons. I'm pleased to see that there are some species of diatoms that can survive a more acidic ocean. I suppose your next proposal will be to farm the diatoms and do some geoengineering with them to rescue the planet from total eco collapse.

One of the more dangerous aspects of a loss of the diatoms and plankton would be huge reduction in O2 levels in both the ocean and the atmosphere. Lack of O2 in the oceans = dead water. Fish die without O2 in the water and without fish, massive eco systems die.

Of course your bug could save the day. I doubt it.

"The acidity of oceans HAVE CHANGED RAPIDLY over the last few centuries. It was about 8.25 in mid eighteenth century and currently is around 8.14. Lower numbers signify increasing acidity and is a cause of concern."

Of course we could stop that dead ocean scenario by simply QUIT BURNING FOSSIL FUELS!

NotParker
1 / 5 (10) May 06, 2012
The acidity of oceans HAVE CHANGED RAPIDLY over the last few centuries. It was about 8.25 in mid eighteenth century and currently is around 8.14. Lower numbers signify increasing acidity and is a cause of concern.


The pH scale wasn't invented until 1900 or so.

Historical pH levels are very difficult to pin down.

"It turns out that far from being a stable pH, spots all over the world are constantly changing. One spot in the ocean varied by an astonishing 1.4 pH units regularly."

http://wattsupwit...erhyped/
Howhot
5 / 5 (6) May 06, 2012
Historical pH levels are very difficult to pin down.

And your the expert on that too? Right.

We are talking diatoms, plankton and the smaller life forms here. Small but they have a huge influence on O2 levels in the oceans and even oxygen levels in the atmosphere. Small life forms that have a huge influence on the health of the globe.

I'm not saying that the little diatoms are not resilient to small changes in acidity; however, a consistent ever present acid will destroy them just as changing the PH of your house plant soil can damage them too.

The forests of the northern Appalachians were being devastated a few years back from Acid Rain. A rain mixed with automobile exhausts and coal emissions that created a toxic acid rain that was killing forests, lakes and desolved lime, and ruined buildings.

Plankton and the diatoms are much more sensitive to changes in acid levels than forests. Just give them enough time in a acid ocean and they will be die.


kaasinees
3 / 5 (10) May 07, 2012
Considering how much CO2 we output and the ocean being the biggest absorber of CO2 on the planet you expect the ocean to stay the same?

Your logical is so backwards you should do the world a favor and end it.
gregor1
1 / 5 (7) May 07, 2012
We output around 3% of the total . So not all that much.
gregor1
1.6 / 5 (7) May 07, 2012
And studies on diatoms have been in aquariums at different air co2 up to 1000 ppm. All studies showed increased growth
"the roughly 5% increase in the growth of diatoms were taken into account based on the values obtained in this study, this would allow diatoms to rapidly accumulate more biomass (by about 34% in 6 days) and drawdown available nitrogen and other nutrients, leading to a greater biological carbon flux to the deep sea."
this means more co2 taken from the air and stored in the deep sea and thus a negative feed back re climate.
Who'd of thunk it!
http://www.co2sci...6/C3.php
Howhot
5 / 5 (5) May 07, 2012
And studies on diatoms have been in aquariums at different air co2 up to 1000 ppm. All studies showed increased growth


Well, that is all nice and good and everything, but you don't mention a thing about the acidity of the water. Plankton are plants for the most part and love CO2. So at 1000ppm (you pulled that one out the air for sure), the plankton should thive.

No, what is far more dangerous is the PH levels. That will create the dead ocean scenario. The solution is simple; stop the polluters from polluting the atmosphere with fossil fuel CO2.
Howhot
5 / 5 (5) May 07, 2012
We output around 3% of the total . So not all that much.

You are talking CO2 right? Well that is more like 50% of the CO2 total AND ITS ALL FROM COAL AND OIL! Chew on that nugget for a while.

Most CO2 winds up in the oceans.
gregor1
1 / 5 (7) May 07, 2012
50% is a lie that came from Al Gore
"Man produces roughly 3% of all annually produced CO2."http://wiki.answe...mosphere
Now go back and read my previous link and you will see the aquarium studies were done precisely to show the effects of ocean ph. The oceans are never likely to become acidic.
kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (7) May 07, 2012
50% is a lie that came from Al Gore
"Man produces roughly 3% of all annually produced CO2."http://wiki.answe...mosphere
Now go back and read my previous link and you will see the aquarium studies were done precisely to show the effects of ocean ph. The oceans are never likely to become acidic.

Agriculture is probably the biggest contributor of greenhouse gasses on the planet.
They probably left that out on purpose because it is not "human".
Well cows fart just like humans do but they fart a lot more and they are domesticated and breed by humans.
Also farmland keeps growing and because of destroying biodiversity on farmland the soil outputs greenhouse gasses instead of sequestering it like a healthy ecology would(especially rice farms).

Yes we come very close to 50% in total.
kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (7) May 07, 2012
this would allow diatoms to rapidly accumulate more biomass (by about 34% in 6 days) and drawdown available nitrogen and other nutrients, leading to a greater biological carbon flux to the deep sea."
this means more co2 taken from the air and stored in the deep sea and thus a negative feed back re climate.
Who'd of thunk it!
http://www.co2sci...6/C3.php


There are a few things wrong with this study:

- The diatom studied is not very common compared to others.
- They failed to study or clarify water temperatures.
- They forgot to mention nutrients like iron which are very limited in the ocean.

They cant grow and absorb CO2 when the waters run out of iron.(And thus we get acidifying oceans)
I even took the liberty to look around on Wikipedia and they have stated that scientists considered fertilizing the ocean with iron particles.

Satellites monitor the ocean all the time. And it seems that phytoplankton is decreasing not increasing.
Howhot
5 / 5 (3) May 07, 2012
So at 1000ppm (you pulled that one out the air for sure), the plankton should thive.


I read the paper sighting this, I will take back what I said. It was a very thorough experiment where CO2 levels were simulated to 390ppm and 1000ppm witth matching PH corresponding to those densities. The kept a constant water temperature of 20C (which is artificial could effect the results. The authors biomass increases of a little better than 5%. So maybe there is some hope that at least with this one plankton species, a counter feed back mechanism is present is the CO2 cycle.

The caveat is that this was just one species of photosythisizing phytoplankton (Phaeodactylum tricornutum). No others where tested.

So; gregor1 I'm giving you 5 for finding that paper. As for your 3% CO2 is man made, your wrong; if you look at Atmospheric CO2, 100 years ago it was 290ppmv, it is now 400ppmv. So man has added 110ppmv in just 100 years. 110/400 = 27.5% is man made (in the atmosphere).
Howhot
5 / 5 (4) May 07, 2012
Also; as Kaasiness pointed out there are gaps in the experiements, like nutrients, water clarity, that left open questions about how plankton would respond in real life. Things are complicated.
gregor1
1 / 5 (6) May 07, 2012
It's not my 3% it's the agreed upon figure and it includes agriculture. I'm glad you finally agree that things are complicated though. There are good measurements of co2 using a chemical method going back to 1812 that where elucidated in a paper by Beck that caused quite a stir at the time. They showed co2 at much the same level as now during periods of the 19th century and even going up to 500ppmv. I haven't the time to go look for it but google if you're interested. It is interesting but there's not a lot can be concluded from this though it suggests the might be a lot of regional variation with co2. Your assumption that CO2 levels remained constant before man's interference is highly unlikley
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (8) May 08, 2012
Also; as Kaasiness pointed out there are gaps in the experiements, like nutrients, water clarity, that left open questions about how plankton would respond in real life. Things are complicated.

Things are complicated?
But you have MODELS you believe that predict DOOM. What's complicated?
gregor1
1 / 5 (8) May 08, 2012
The figure 3% is quoted again today here
http://wattsupwit...su-grad/
It's from this report
http://www.eia.go...7304.pdf
gregor1
1 / 5 (8) May 08, 2012
Easy there ryggesogn. You're not an evil COMPUTER MODEL DENIER are you? You better watch out or they'll start calling you names and then you'll be sorry!
Howhot
4.4 / 5 (7) May 08, 2012
They showed co2 at much the same level as now during periods of the 19th century and even going up to 500ppmv.

Maybe local to a volcano or something, but not globally. 290ppmv has been the norm the last million years or so. So where ever you dug that factoid up from, is probably a denier's site. A den of mis-information. Like the 3% is man made crap. I read through your WUTs up site and all I can think is; What is up with that? The site I mean. I showed you previously that at a minimum 27% has to be derived from mankind's burning fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil). 3% does not equal 27% does it??

You have to explain that 3% in detail because it doesn't make any sense to me. To be expected from the deniers and the "I can't believe the Hockey Stick is real" folks.

kaasinees
1.9 / 5 (9) May 08, 2012
NotParker
1 / 5 (9) May 08, 2012
290ppmv has been the norm the last million years or so.


"Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated exhibiting three high level axima around 1825, 1857 and 1942 the latter showing more than 400 ppm."

http://icecap.us/...Beck.pdf

During the Eemian, the interglacial period before the Holocene, CO2 rose from 190ppm to 290ppm and then back to 230.

http://www.ferdin...ian.html

The ice age returned. We were lucky, under 200ppm can starve most plant life.

Howhot
5 / 5 (4) May 12, 2012
Since 1812, Temperatures in the northern hemispheric air has fluctuated with record High temp breaking record high temp being the norm for 1999 and on; tracking CO2 increases.

http://en.wikiped...nt_Truth
NotParker
1 / 5 (6) May 12, 2012
Since 1812, Temperatures in the northern hemispheric air has fluctuated with record High temp breaking record high temp being the norm for 1999 and on; tracking CO2 increases.



Only two January's were warmer than January 1863 in the Northern Hemisphere.

http://sunshineho...t3nh.txt

Try and remember, the difference between now and then are very, very small amounts.

With a scale from 0 this is what the changes actually look like for the USA:

http://i49.tinypi...r49d.jpg
NotParker
1 / 5 (6) May 12, 2012
Only two January's were warmer than January 1863 in the NH.

http://sunshineho...2011.png

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