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Thanks to Lina Hansson for some updates on some interesting experiments the EPOCA has been conducting to study and combat ocean acidification...

The European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) just completed its first large-scale field experiment in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Fifteen EPOCA scientists from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and France participated in the campaign - aimed at investigating the response of Arctic communities to elevated CO2. Organisms living on the sea floor, such as barnacles, sea urchins, brittlestars, algae and crabs, were sampled by divers and placed in indoor mesocosms - aquaria in which pH and other parameters are controlled. In 2010, about 40 EPOCA scientists will return to Svalbard, this time to study planktonic communities using offshore mesocosm facilities of several cubic metres.

But why study Arctic organisms' response to ocean acidification? The Arctic is likely to become undersaturated with respect to carbonate, one of the building blocks needed by many marine organisms to produce shells and skeletons, before more temperate waters will (see blog post of 18 January for more information). The reason is that CO2, like any other gas, dissolves more easily in cold waters. The threat from ocean acidification is thus greater and more immediate for polar regions.

For more information on the different experiments carried out during this campaign, visit the blog: EPOCA Arctic Campaign 2009.

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