Maine oceanographers study acidification

Posted Feb. 05, 2011, at 1:49 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Oceanographers from Maine are part of a 23-member scientific team studying the effects of climate change on marine life in the South Atlantic.

Barney Balch from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay Harbor is heading the expedition aboard the research vessel Melville. The ship is crossing 7,000 miles of ocean from Chile to South Africa to investigate the effects of ocean acidification on the Southern Hemisphere’s largest recurring phytoplankton bloom.

Speaking by satellite phone from the ship, Balch told Maine Public Broadcasting Network that ocean waters are becoming more acidic as carbon dioxide builds in the atmosphere and is absorbed into the ocean. But he says the full effects of the acidification are not yet known.

He says the findings will be written up sometime next year.

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