From: NOAA
Published August 31, 2017 08:11 AM

Teachers tackle ocean acidification with the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Ocean acidification can be a daunting topic to cover in the classroom, but for Washington state’s coastal communities, the issue is often personal.

Ocean acidification can be a daunting topic to cover in the classroom, but for Washington state’s coastal communities, the issue is often personal. In 2005, billions of oysters died along the Northwest coast, and NOAA scientist Richard Feeley and other North American scientists have linked this and other shellfish die-offs deaths to falling ocean pH1. According to Washington State’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, Washington’s ocean waters are specifically susceptible to ocean acidification because of coastal upwelling. This brings water that is low in pH and rich in carbon dioxide up from the deep ocean and onto the continental shelf. Ocean acidification, also exacerbated by nutrient runoff and local carbon emissions, threatens Washington’s marine environment, the state and local economies, and tribes.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, which covers 3188 square miles of marine waters off Washington, is actively moving towards designation as an ocean acidification sentinel site. The designation will provide greater opportunities for interested citizens, graduate students, and researchers to study the shifting marine environment there. Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Education Specialist Nicole Harris is also incorporating this pressing topic into many of the sanctuary’s education programs.

 

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Photo via NOAA.

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