"Waterways" Episode Features the Science and Technology of Ocean Acidification Research

Educational Program Spotlights Ocean Acidification
A buoy stationed in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary measures carbon dioxide levels. Credit: NOAA/AOML

The Florida educational program Waterways explores ocean acidification and its impact on coral reefs with NOAA scientists

A recent episode of the Florida educational program "Waterways" highlights work by NOAA scientists in the Florida Keys to study ocean acidification and monitor changes in coral growth associated with this phenomenon.

Ocean acidification is the result of a chemical reaction that occurs when seawater absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. As carbon dioxide in the air increases due to the burning of fossil fuels, oceans are becoming more acidic. Some of the organisms most affected by ocean acidification are corals and other animals that build their skeletons or exoskeletons underwater. As seawater's pH decreases, it becomes more difficult for corals to efficiently produce limestone.

In the Waterways episode, NOAA scientists explain how they are pairing long-term monitoring with state-of-the-art technology, like 3D scans and moored instruments that deliver real-time data, to measure changes in coral growth over time. This information and analysis will help resource managers and political leaders make laws and decisions for the future. It may also help develop methods to reduce the impacts from ocean acidification and mitigate current damage to coral reefs.

Partners for this effort include: NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Coral Reef Conservation Program, Ocean Acidification Program and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Visit the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory homepage to watch the full episode and learn more.