Ocean acidification

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Tuna and other top predators could run out of food in warming seas. Tuna image from www.shutterstock.com

The oceans are changing too fast for marine life to keep up

Over the past five years we've seen a significant increase in research on ocean acidification and warming seas, and their effect on marine life. Overall, unfortunately, the news is not good.
Gamba Grass is altering fire regimes in the Top End, threatening human life and property, natural assets including Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, and compromising savanna burning programs. Samantha Setterfield

Setting priorities for environmental research is daunting when the questions are so huge

One of the Australian government's new research priorities is "environmental change". But can be hard to know how to tackle such huge and interlinked issues as climate change and species extinctions.
Time to get cracking: a Canadian research vessel in the Arctic. John F. Williams/Office of Naval Research

Temporary ban on fishing reflects how fragile Arctic ecosystem is

A melting Arctic means new areas will be open to commercial fishing but scientists – and bordering countries – say they need time to study the ecological and economic risks.
Icy waters off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Kathryn Smith

The march of the king crabs: a warning from Antarctica

Hundreds of meters below the surface of the freezing ocean surrounding Antarctica, the seafloor is teeming with life. The animals living there have no idea that an army is on the brink of invading their tranquil environment.
The tropical orange blotch surgeon fish has been moving south into New South Wales. Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey

Following Nemo: marine life is heading south

As warmer seas move further south, tropical wildlife is going with them, giving us a dramatic insight into how global warming is changing our oceans.
Acehnese fishers are among the quarter of the world’s population who live on the coast, and for whom climate-driven changes to the oceans would make life much harder. Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA/AAP Image

New report: the chance to rescue the world’s oceans from climate change is drifting away

Failing to stick to the world's agreed global warming limit of 2C won't just affect the atmosphere - it will play havoc with the oceans too, potentially ruining ecosystems on which much of humanity depends.
Phytoplankton are responsible for half the world’s productivity. Here, a phytoplankton bloom in the northern Pacific. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

Tiny marine plants face a mixed bag thanks to climate change

You may not have heard of them or given them much thought, but phytoplankton — the microscopic plants that grow throughout the world’s oceans — are the foundation of oceanic food webs. Although tiny, they…
Flying over Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Kiyo/Flickr

The plan to save the Great Barrier Reef is destined to fail unless …

The Great Barrier Reef is in trouble, and a draft government plan to ensure its survival does not go far enough. A number of submissions including those from the Australian Academy of Science and Environmental…
A dead coral reef in the Caribbean. Coral reefs are extremely vulnerable to climate change and ocean acidification. superqq/Flickr

In Conversation with environment journalist Elizabeth Kolbert

Scientists are coming to the conclusion that we are on the brink of a mass extinction — the sixth known in the history of the Earth, and the latest since an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs 65 million…
We need to play our cards right if Australia’s marine environments are to keep us afloat. Saspotato/Flickr

Marine science: challenges for a growing ‘blue economy’

In many ways, Australia is defined by the oceans surrounding us. We have the world's third largest ocean territory, most of our trade travels by sea, and we have vast offshore resources.
Rousing the Kraken: climate change could make life in the ocean much harder. By Mary Evans Picture Library/Alamy/Wikimedia Commons

IPCC preview: deep trouble brewing in our oceans

Scientists are meeting this week in Yokohama, Japan, to finalise and approve the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II – the part of the IPCC process that…
Bright colourful coral like this may soon disappear. USFWS Pacific

Global warming’s evil twin: ocean acidification

Greenhouse gas emissions have warmed the oceans in regions such as the Baltic by as much as 1.3°C. It is now thought that 90% of the heat added to the climate system by humans has been absorbed in the…

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