Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


10th anniversary of ocean acidification research


Scientists mark 10th anniversary of ocean acidification research

A decade of scientific research into how ocean acidification is affecting New Zealand waters has led to far greater understanding of the vulnerability of our marine ecosystems, according to a newly published review.

However, projecting what might happen to marine species, including those crucial to New Zealand such as pāua and mussels, will require the development of advanced ecosystem modelling that accounts for the complex nature of our coastal waters.

It’s been 10 years since NZ scientists first started exploring the impacts of changing ocean chemistry as a result of increased uptake of carbon dioxide.

Now those same scientists have summarised their findings, examined the threat ocean acidification poses to our highly diverse coastal and open ocean waters, and spelt out the need for new research to more accurately predict what will happen in the future.

The paper has just been published in the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research and lead author, NIWA marine biogeochemist Professor Cliff Law, says it is aimed at informing both scientists and decision makers about what has been done, and what still needs to be achieved.

“It’s important that after a decade of research, we identify where the research is going and pinpoint the knowledge gaps,” Prof Law says.

“Ten years ago we were doing basic experiments, now we’re looking at everything together – how changing temperatures, pH levels, nutrient run-off and turbidity for example, are affecting our coastal waters. It’s got more and more complicated as it’s gone on but what we know is that New Zealand waters are already exposed to ocean acidification and will be subject to further pH stress in the future.”

NIWA scientists have been aided in their research by the Munida transect time series, a 20-year record of pH measurements taken along a 65km line in the open ocean off Otago. This has shown the water acidifying at the same rate as carbon dioxide levels have risen in the atmosphere, and is the only time series of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

However, while the paper shows that marine organisms exhibit a wide variety of responses to ocean acidification, Prof Law says there has been only limited research into the resilience of marine organisms, that have carbonate shells such as shellfish, cold-water corals and some algae and plankton may be particularly challenged by ocean acidification.

Ongoing research into ocean acidification includes a four-year collaborative programme called CARIM, or Coastal Acidification, Rate Impacts and Management. Led by NIWA, it aims to establish the scale of acidification and how it is affecting New Zealand coastal ecosystems.

Monitoring is happening in the Firth of Thames, Karitane and Nelson bays, with experiments specifically looking at the sensitivity of different life stages of iconic species like green-lipped mussels, pāua and snapper. CARIM is also investigating the indirect impacts on food and habitat availability.

“We want to understand whether different life stages of these key species are affected by lower pH and how other factors in the environment might influence this impact. Coastal waters are the most variable in their natural pH levels; they are where we get the most benefits in terms of food, recreation and other amenities, yet also where we affect the ocean most.

Prof Law says there is a need to find out whether coastal areas will be more resilient or vulnerable as ocean acidification intensifies, and also whether measures, such as selective breeding of shellfish, could help.

The paper concludes that while scientists are informed on the potential direct impacts of ocean acidification on a range of marine organisms, they lack insight into ecosystem interactions which is critical to developing models and projections that will help with mitigation and adaptation.

“We are looking for tools and solutions as well as conducting research to determine if there is something we can do at the local level,” Prof Law says. “The outcome will be better models, allowing more accurate predictions of the impacts of acidification in coastal waters, as well as management options for stakeholders.”


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


NZTA: Major New Zealand Upgrade Programme Projects Go To Tender

Two major New Zealand Upgrade Programme projects are beginning tenders for construction. The New Zealand Upgrade Programme is a $6.8 billion investment to get our cities moving, to save lives and boost productivity in growth areas. The first Auckland ... More>>

Reserve Bank: RBNZ Seeks To Preserve Benefits Of Cash

The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua is taking on a new role of steward of the cash system “to preserve the benefits of cash for all who need them”, Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby told the Royal Numismatics Society of New Zealand annual conference ... More>>


Economy: Double-Dip Recession Next Year, But Housing Rolls On

New Zealand's economy is expected to slip back into recession early next year as delayed job losses, falling consumer spending, and the absence of international tourists bites into growth. More>>


Microsoft New Zealand: Microsoft Expands “Highway To A Hundred Unicorns” Initiative To Support Startups In Asia Pacific

New Zealand, 14 October 2020 – Today Microsoft for Startups launches the Highway to a Hundred Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where 56 startups were ... More>>

Fonterra: Farmers Taking Another Step Towards New Zealand’s Low Emissions Food Production

They’re hot off the press and intended to help take the heat out of climate change. Fonterra farmers are already among the world’s most sustainable producers of milk and now have an additional tool in their sustainability toolbox. Over the last few ... More>>


Electricity: New Zealand Remains In Top 10 For Energy Balance

The World Energy Council’s Energy Trilemma Index has become part of the energy dialogue both globally and in New Zealand. The Index illustrates the need for countries to balance energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability. New Zealand ... More>>


Courts: Businessman Eric Watson Sentenced To A Four-Month Jail Term

New Zealand businessman Eric Watson has been sentenced to a four-month jail term in the UK for contempt of court, TVNZ reports. More>>

OECD: Area Employment Rate Falls By 4.0 Percentage Points, To 64.6% In Second Quarter Of 2020

The OECD area employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – fell by 4.0 percentage points, to 64.6%, in the second quarter of 2020, its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010. Across the OECD area, 560 million persons ... More>>

Spark: Turns On 5G In Auckland And Offers A Glimpse Into The Future Of Smart Cities

Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland today and has partnered with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase some of the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology and demonstrate what the future could look like for Auckland’s CBD with the power of 5G. 5G is ... More>>

Stats NZ: Monthly Migration Remains Low

Since the border closed in late-March 2020, net migration has averaged about 300 a month, Stats NZ said today. In the five months from April to August 2020, overall net migration was provisionally estimated at 1,700. This was made up of a net gain ... More>>

University of Canterbury: Proglacial Lakes Are Accelerating Glacier Ice Loss

Lake Tasman, New Zealand | 2016 | Photo: Dr Jenna Sutherland Meltwater lakes that form at glacier margins cause ice to recede much further and faster compared to glaciers that terminate on land, according to a new study. But the effects of these glacial ... More>>


Dairy: Fonterra Sells China Farms

Fonterra has agreed to sell its China farms for a total of $555 million (RMB 2.5 billion*1), after successfully developing the farms alongside local partners. Inner Mongolia Natural Dairy Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of China Youran Dairy Group Limited ... More>>