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Posted Sat Oct 30 2010: from Reuters:
Concern Over Ocean Acidification Ramps Up Research Dollars
Mounting concerns over ocean acidification--a consequence of CO2 emissions--has accelerated research funding aimed at understanding the process potentially endangering marine life in ocean waters all across the earth. In early October, the National Science Foundation awarded over $24 million dollars to 22 projects through a new grant program targeted to study how ocean acidification affects marine environments. While the NSF has funded ocean acidification in the past, it is the first time the agency has created a special program aimed at the field of study. As CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere increase, much of the gas is absorbed by the oceans, where it dissolves in the water. As a result, the oceans are getting more acidic over time. However, the long-term effects of the process are poorly understood. "There are serious concerns about ocean acidification, and that's why this research is being conducted," Phillip Taylor, Head of the Ocean Section in NSF's Ocean Sciences Division, told SolveClimate News. "There are many who think this is going to have an impact on important animals in the sea that are instrumental in driving the productivity of ocean waters."... Those changes may not sound like a lot, but pH is measured on a logarithmic scale, so a 0.1 difference is equivalent to a 30 percent change in acidity or alkalinity. "When you change the pH of water, it has very clear and potentially immediate affects on the physiology of organisms," Taylor said. One effect of ocean acidification is to decrease the availability of carbonate ions in the water, an important compound for organisms like corals, shellfish and foraminifera that use carbonate to build their calcium carbonate shells. These shells are part of the organisms' body structure; they provide shape, size and protection against predators.
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, carbon emissions]

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'Doc Jim says:
Maybe research funding should be on a logarithmic scale, based on its potential for catastrophe?

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