SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 16, September 2016 - Page 116

Biology and Ecosystems). Over the last 250 years, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide

has increased from 280 parts per million to over 394 parts per million due to the burning of fossil fuels (e.g., coal, gas, oil) and land use change (for instance, conversion of natural forest into crop production). Ocean acidification has potentially devastating ramifications for all ocean life; from the smallest, single celled algae, to the largest whales.

As a requirement of the FOARAM Act of 2009, the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program was officially established in May 2011, as an integral part of a much broader US research effort to increase our understanding about how, and how fast, the chemistry of the ocean is changing.


Designed and produced in 2000 in Paris, France. White Mother of Pearl from Thailand. Exhibited in the Boutique of Musée des Art Decoratifs in the Louvre (Paris).


Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is occurring because the world’s oceans are absorbing increasing amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide, leading to lower pH and greater acidity. This is literally causing a sea change and threatening the fundamental chemical balance of ocean and coastal waters from pole to pole.

Ocean acidification refers to a reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period, typically decades or longer, and is caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, though it can also be caused by other chemical additions or subtractions from the ocean. Anthropogenic ocean acidification refers to the component of pH reduction that is caused by human activity (IPCC: Workshop on Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine