IMES

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Brittnie - Effects of ocean acidity on coral

Just like a rain forest takes in some carbon dioxide (CO2) that we produce, the ocean also takes in a lot of CO2, which mixes with sea water to create carbonic acid, this then releases bicarbonate ions and hydrogen ions. The hydrogen ions bond with a free carbonate ion to create another bicarbonate ion, which will dissolve the carbonate coral skeleton and prevent the free carbonate ion to make shells and skeletons, this is called ocean acidification.


Ocean acidity can be measured by the pH, now the ocean has a “buffer” system which allows it to resist changes in pH because of the many dissolved chemicals that are in the ocean, but the amount of CO2 the ocean can take up is limited, and it’s causing a decrease in the pH in different ocean waters.

Next month I travel to Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas; where I will search the beaches for dead pieces of coral. When I come back from vacation I will measure the sizes of the pieces of coral and put the same size measurement of coral in different amounts of pH, to see how fast each pH will dissolve each piece of coral.

I think that using a line graph will be the most efficient way of displaying my data, the y-axis will be the size measurement, the x-axis will be the time, and I will have numerous lines for the different amounts of pH.


I am still trying to decide how to measure the pieces of coral, whether I should measure mass, weight or volume, so let me know if you have an idea of what I could do. I am also waiting on the data results to decide the time measurement, because I’m not sure how long it will take to start showing significant changes in the size.

6 comments:

  1. Are there different types of coral, or will you be doing coral period?

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    1. I was thinking about that, I will definitely do different types, thank you.

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  2. I like Zach's idea of possibly using different types of coral...so try to collect many of the same type of coral as well as some different types. This might give insight as to which might be more impacted by ocean acidification. As far as measurements--if we get you a caliper, you can measure each piece of coral at various points in time without destroying them.

    I think you have a great project here!

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    1. I really liked the idea also, I've decided to do different types of coral, and a caliper would be great! Thank you.

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  3. How about density (d=mass/volume)? Density could be an additional variable because maybe coral of different densities are affected differently by pH levels? However, you would have to end up cutting each piece of coral that you want to test into sizes of equal mass before you put them into the pH.

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