New buoys measure ocean's acidification around Bermuda

Two new buoys have been deployed around Bermuda to help scientists measure the acidification of the ocean.

They will contribute data to BIOS's BErmuda ocean ACidification and COral reef iNvestigation (BEACON) project and are fitted with instrumentation which will measure in situ seawater temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, pCO2 and pH every three hours.

The technology has been developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) for studies of coastal air-sea carbon exchange.

By cross-referencing the information from the buoys with BIOS' research on coral calcification rates at Hog and Crescent reefs, it will be possible to develop a better idea of how corals are responding to physical and chemical changes in the environment.

Dr Andreas Andersson, Principal Investigator of the BEACON project, said: "The seriousness of the potential threat of ocean acidification is only recently being recognised.

"Since 1983, research at BIOS has recorded an increase in carbon dioxide content in the surface ocean off Bermuda, consequently changing the acid-base balance in favour of increasing acidity.

"This is the longest ocean acidification record found anywhere. It is important for us to understand how the environment already has been affected by these changes, how it will be affected in the future, and how we can mitigate against the potential negative effects.

"BEACON aims to improve our understanding of the potential consequences of ocean acidification to coral reef ecosystems including the effects on individual marine organisms, biogeochemical processes, and the cycling of carbon through coral reefs.

"Nevertheless, the data gained from this new time-series will provide many other stakeholders with important information in order to monitor the health of the Bermuda marine environment.”

Data of pCO2 and dissolved oxygen is now available to the public online:

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Published Feb 13, 2011 at 12:01 am (Updated Feb 13, 2011 at 12:37 am)

New buoys measure ocean's acidification around Bermuda

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