The Ocean Is Getting More Acidic—What That Actually Means

This article discusses the changes affecting our oceans because of climate change. Thanks to carbon emissions, the ocean is changing, and that is putting a whole host of marine organisms at risk. These scientists are on the front lines.

Grace Saba steadies herself on the back of a gently rocking boat as she and her crew slide a six-foot long yellow torpedo into the sea. A cheer erupts as the device surfaces, turns on its electronic signal, and begins a three-week journey along the New Jersey coast.

“It’s taken seven years to get this done,” said Saba, who has been working on this experiment since 2011. “I’m so happy, I think I might cry!”

Saba is an assistant professor of marine ecology at Rutgers University, where she is studying how fish, clams, and other creatures are reacting to rising levels of ocean acidity. Acidification is a byproduct of climate change; a slow but exorable real-life experiment in which industrial emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are absorbed and then undergo chemical reactions in the sea. Rising ocean acidity has already bleached Florida’s coral reefs and killed valuable oysters in the Pacific Northwest.

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