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USGS workshop on the impact of carbon dioxide on marine life

What Workshop overview and discussion with scientists

Topic: The Impact of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) on Marine Life

Where: U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg, Fla. or at your desk via telecom

When: Wednesday, April 20, 2005, from 1:00 2:00 p.m.

How: Media may participate in person or via telecom. Please call Ann Tihansky (USGS), above, in advance to participate.

Why: About 30 % of the CO2 released by human activity in the last several decades has been absorbed by the world's oceans. The process has removed it from the atmosphere, but at a cost to coral reefs and other marine life, according to Richard Feely, an oceanographer at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.

"Rising concentrations of CO2 will significantly impact our oceans by drastically altering their pH balance," explained Feely, co-author of a study on CO2 and the oceans published in a 2004 issue of the journal Science.

The lower pH of ocean water means that organisms such as those that form coral reefs and many planktonic organisms in the open ocean, will secrete calcium carbonate at much slower rates, affecting the growth and health of the calcium-carbonate skeletons, researchers say. "Increasing atmospheric CO2 is damaging to coral reefs in two ways," says National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Joanie Kleypas. "Coral bleaching is a visible consequence of warmer waters. In contrast, the effects of lower pH-ocean water on coral growth are not as visible, but they are probably just as important to the coral reef ecosystem."

"Workshop on the Impacts of Increasing Atmospheric CO2 on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers," is hosted by the USGS Florida Integrated Science Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, in cooperation with scientists from NOAA and NCAR. It brings together international experts wh
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Contact: Ann Tihansky
tihansky@usgs.gov
727-803-8747 x3075
United States Geological Survey
11-Apr-2005


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