Ocean acidification and fish, shellfish – Science Q&A with Natalie Monacci

Ocean acidification and fish, shellfish – Science Q&A with Natalie Monacci


So hi everybody. I’m here at the American
Geophysical Union meeting and I’m here with Nathalie Monacci from the College
of Fisheries and Oceans Sciences here at UAF. Natalie you have a presentation here
on ocean acidification. First thing what is ocean acidification? Ocean
acidification is when the ocean is absorbing carbon dioxide from
anthropogenic sources so as the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases
more is being taken up by the ocean Gotcha. OK and I understand that Alaska
has some unique things about our ocean water that makes us maybe a little bit
more susceptible to this? Yeah there’s kind of three areas that
make Alaska more vulnerable to ocean acidification than other areas one is
that we’re at a high latitude and our waters are just naturally colder. So cold
water can absorb and hold on to gases better than warm waters can, so an
example of that is your soda pop so your soda can hold onto those carbon dioxide
bubbles that fizz better if it’s colder than if it’s warmer. So in Alaska we have colder waters we’re able to hold on to a more carbon dioxide.
Right, okay. A second area where we’re unique is we’re at the end of the global
circulation of the oceans and so older water is in the Pacific Ocean than the
Atlantic and it is holding more carbon dioxide and so as that water comes up
and around Alaska we have more carbon dioxide awesome and then the third
factor is we have a lot of freshwater in Alaska and fresh water can also change
the chemistry around Alaska and affect ocean acidification
so we have cold waters holding on to more co2 we have older waters holding on to
more co2 and we have a lot of fresh water. This is all driving pH down. So the
pH of the water is a relative term when we’re talking about acidification. It
doesn’t mean that the ocean is now an acid it just means that it’s more acidic
than it has been in the past. Interesting and so your poster mentions clams, cod and crabs. Why should we, why does this matter what is
what is a more acid ocean due to these species? So first we like to monitor
ocean acidification and then once we get an understanding of the values of ocean
acidification that we see around the state we want to take those values and
say how does it an effect an important species. So one important species is
clams they’re important culturally they’re in an important subsistence
species around the state lots of different communities rely on them for
food so we’re really interested in learning about how acidification will
affect them. Crab is both important subsistence and culturally important
species as well as a commercial species. And cod the same way so when we look at different kinds of animals and where they live around the state in the water
column some live in the sediment understanding the vulnerabilities of all
different kinds of species is important as to how Alaskans will remain resilient
to change. So we you know your work is monitoring this stuff and understanding
it so we kind of know what to expect next? Yes so we hope to maintain our
current long-term monitoring stations around the state to understand the
effects, the intensity and the duration of ocean acidification around the state and that’s kind of the basis of our chemistry focus and a lot of our
biological focus is the physiological responses on different species.
Interesting. Well thank you so much Natalie. Thank you.

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