82 Views

Crucial ocean-acidification models come up short

As the oceans’ chemistry is altered by rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the response of sea-dwellers such as fish, shellfish and corals is a huge unknown that has implications for fisheries and conservationists alike. But the researchers attempting to find an answer are often failing to properly design and report their experiments, according to an analysis of two decades of literature.

Oceans absorb much of the CO2 emitted by human activities such as coal burning. This leads to a variety of chemical changes, such as making waters more acidic, which are referred to as ocean acidification.

The United Nations has warned that ocean acidification could cost the global economy $1 trillion per year by the end of the century, owing to losses in industries such as fisheries and tourism. Oyster fisheries in the United States are estimated to have already lost millions of dollars as a result of poor harvests, which can be partly blamed on ocean acidification.

The past decade has seen accelerated attempts to predict what these changes in pH will mean for the oceans’ denizens – in particular, through experiments that place organisms in water tanks that mimic future ocean-chemistry scenarios.

Yet according to a survey published last month by marine scientist Christopher Cornwall, who studies ocean acidification at the University of Western Australia in Crawley, and ecologist Catriona Hurd of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, most reports of such laboratory experiments either used inappropriate methods or did not report their methods properly.

Cornwall says that the “overwhelming evidence” from such studies of the negative effects of ocean acidification still stands. For example, more-acidic waters slow the growth and worsen the health of many species that build structures such as shells from calcium carbonate. But the pair’s discovery that many of the experiments are problematic makes it difficult to assess accurately the magnitude of effects of ocean acidification, and to combine results from individual experiments to build overall predictions for how the ecosystem as a whole will behave, he says.

The survey, published in the journal ICES Journal of Marine Science, was based on a search of the Scopus database of research papers. Cornwall and Hurd analyzed 465 studies published between 1993 and 2014 that manipulated seawater chemistry and found that experiments often failed to implement widely accepted measures to ensure quality.

For instance, to ensure robustness, manipulation studies should use multiple arrays of independent ocean-mimicking tanks. And in experiments that compare sea animals under acidified conditions with controls, these tanks should be randomized to remove bias. But the pair found that in several papers, researchers used one main seawater tank to supply multiple, supposedly independent smaller tanks.

ALSO READ  How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne And Skin

Chemical errors

The researchers also found mistakes in basic chemistry: Some authors simply added acid to a tank and ignored other chemical changes that result from the absorption of CO2, such as increased levels of carbonates. Although the frequency of these chemistry errors has dropped since the 2010 publication of an international “best practice” guide for ocean-acidification experiments, the researchers found no evidence for improvements in the design of tank arrays.

Bayden Russell, an ocean-acidification researcher at the University of Hong Kong who reviewed drafts of the latest paper, has also noticed that some researchers fail to take into account the complexities of ocean acidification when designing their experiments. “It is these complexities that will drive ecosystem responses to ocean acidification,” he says.

Overall, Cornwall and Hurd found that in only 27 cases could they be certain that an appropriate experimental design had been used, and in 278 cases, the design was clearly inappropriate. The remaining studies had insufficient detail on experimental setup – a problem in itself, note the researchers.

The pair present a series of recommendations for well-designed experiments and suggest a checklist of details that should be included in papers to allow replication of experiments, including which chemicals were used to manipulate the seawater chemistry and the configuration of tank arrays.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in St. Lucia, Australia, suggests that researchers also need to take account of natural variations in temperature and CO2 in experimental setups and ensure that experiments that manipulate acidity also simulate the accompanying rise in temperature from global warming, which many do not.

Pressure to publish

Russell thinks that most research groups are now trying to use appropriate designs, but says that there are still problems, which he attributes to a variety of factors.

“Unfortunately, truly rigorous designs are logistically complex and expensive in both setup costs and ongoing maintenance time,” he says. “When superimposed on the increasing pressure to publish rapidly, and in top journals, some researchers or research groups are still attempting to publish what I would consider substandard research.”

Jonathan Havenhand, who works on marine invertebrates at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and who co-authored the 2010 guide, welcomes the latest paper: “Everybody should know the stuff that’s in Cornwall and Hurd’s paper. It’s good that they wrote it. It’s disappointing that they had to.”

Havenhand suspects the paper will be highly cited. “Whether people are going to be happy to be citing it, I don’t know.”

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

How 24-Year-Old Student Bagged First Class Degree At Bayero University Kano
Best of Nigeria
9 views
Best of Nigeria
9 views

How 24-Year-Old Student Bagged First Class Degree At Bayero University Kano

PH - January 20, 2018

Despite the “many hiccups” he faced along the way, Omeiza Aliyu bagged a first class bachelor of arts degree in mass communications at the Bayero University Kano…

Wizkid’s First Son, Boluwatife Balogun Swags Up In News Photos
Entertainment
84 views
Entertainment
84 views

Wizkid’s First Son, Boluwatife Balogun Swags Up In News Photos

MT - January 19, 2018

When your father is Wizkid Ayo Balogun, then swag is expected! Shola Ogudu, Wizkid's first baby mama shared these lovely new photos of their son, Boluwatife. 

“Doctor Saves Life In Theatre, You Take Gifts To Pastors” – Daddy Freeze, Crazeclown
Entertainment
83 views
Entertainment
83 views

“Doctor Saves Life In Theatre, You Take Gifts To Pastors” – Daddy Freeze, Crazeclown

MT - January 19, 2018

Is It Right? Doctors Spent Hours To Save Your Life In Theatre, You Take Your Gifts To Pastors - Freeze Daddy Freeze don start again today oo,…

Actress Rukky Sanda Steps Out In Ripped Jeans And People Are Talking About It (Photos)
Entertainment
54 views
Entertainment
54 views

Actress Rukky Sanda Steps Out In Ripped Jeans And People Are Talking About It (Photos)

MT - January 19, 2018

The actress and single 33yr old has been off from the movie screen lately, but she seems to be doing just fine judging by her photos, It…

7 Foods That Will Boost Your Digestive Health
Food and Health
51 views
Food and Health
51 views

7 Foods That Will Boost Your Digestive Health

MT - January 19, 2018

Your digestive system affects the well-being of every cell in your bodies. A healthy digestion will contribute to boosted energy levels, beautiful skin and rejuvenating sleep. So,…

Seyi Shay Shares Her Early Morning Photos Without Makeup (Photos)
Entertainment
72 views
Entertainment
72 views

Seyi Shay Shares Her Early Morning Photos Without Makeup (Photos)

MT - January 19, 2018

Nigerian female artiste stage named seyi shay shares her make-up free picture. She is looking cool anyway. See photos below

House Of Rep Member, Aishatu Dukku Says Herdsmen Values Lives Of His Cattle More Than Their Life
Politics
60 views
Politics
60 views

House Of Rep Member, Aishatu Dukku Says Herdsmen Values Lives Of His Cattle More Than Their Life

MT - January 19, 2018

A video making the rounds on the internet has shown a member of the House of Representatives claiming the Fulani herdsmen values his cattle more than his…

Babymama Gang: Popular Video Vixen, Beverly Osu Announces Her Pregnancy By Flaunting Baby Bump On IG
Entertainment
54 views
Entertainment
54 views

Babymama Gang: Popular Video Vixen, Beverly Osu Announces Her Pregnancy By Flaunting Baby Bump On IG

MT - January 19, 2018

It seems beautiful video vixen has join the list of baby mamas as she happily flaunt her baby bump on her instagram page, although the father of…

How A Young Nigerian Businessman Slumped And Died Hours After Mourning The Death Of His Friend
Shocking
44 views
Shocking
44 views

How A Young Nigerian Businessman Slumped And Died Hours After Mourning The Death Of His Friend

MT - January 19, 2018

A young Nigerian man based in the United States has just been reported dead after he was reported to have slumped and died just hours after losing…

DJ Cuppy Got More Than She Bargain For When She Tweeted About Recording A New Song
Entertainment
53 views
Entertainment
53 views

DJ Cuppy Got More Than She Bargain For When She Tweeted About Recording A New Song

MT - January 19, 2018

Nigerians on twitter are all sorts of savage and hilarious. After Dj Cuppy tweeted, Quote 'My throat is killing me, and I’m meant to be recording my…

Here Is How Rivers Indigenes Protested Against SARS Operation In The State (Photos)
Shocking
49 views
Shocking
49 views

Here Is How Rivers Indigenes Protested Against SARS Operation In The State (Photos)

MT - January 19, 2018

Residents of Rivers state today staged a protest calling for the disbandment of SARS operations in the state. The residents accuse officials of the State Anti-Robbery Squad…

Checkout New Photos Of Former Miss Anambra “Cucumber”, Chidinma Okeke (Photos)
Entertainment
55 views
Entertainment
55 views

Checkout New Photos Of Former Miss Anambra “Cucumber”, Chidinma Okeke (Photos)

MT - January 19, 2018

Never you be a victim of your own circumstance … The “future is now” The former beauty queen dropped one of the pictures and wrote: Quote “Go confidently…

Why Chelsea FC Could Be Banned For Two Transfer Windows By FIFA
Sports
43 views
Sports
43 views

Why Chelsea FC Could Be Banned For Two Transfer Windows By FIFA

MT - January 19, 2018

English Premier League Champions, Chelsea FC could be banned for two transfer windows as FIFA investigate the club for irregular signings, according to The Guardian. The club…

Fulani Killings: Why The Benue Crisis May Get Out Of Control – Sultan Of Sokoto Warns
Shocking
55 views
Shocking
55 views

Fulani Killings: Why The Benue Crisis May Get Out Of Control – Sultan Of Sokoto Warns

MT - January 19, 2018

Saad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, has queried the competence of the security agencies and their inability to stop the attacks and killings by herdsmen in Benue State.…

My Side Chick And My Personal Ashewo – IK Ogbonna Writes Sweet Message To His Wife On Her Birthday
Entertainment
55 views
Entertainment
55 views

My Side Chick And My Personal Ashewo – IK Ogbonna Writes Sweet Message To His Wife On Her Birthday

MT - January 19, 2018

Nollywood superstar actor, Ik Ogbonna has celebrated his wife in a unique manner by chosing to call her his side chick and ashewo in a post he…

This Plus Size Man and Fiance Spice Up Their Pre Wedding Photos With Raunchy Display
Romance and Love
54 views
Romance and Love
54 views

This Plus Size Man and Fiance Spice Up Their Pre Wedding Photos With Raunchy Display

MT - January 19, 2018

This fun-loving couple have got themselves trending online after sharing their lovely pre-wedding photos. The pair identified as Prince Biggs and Sugar Girl decided to spice up…

Meet Nigeria’s First Female Combatant Pilots In History Since 1960 Independence (Photos)
Best of Nigeria
59 views
Best of Nigeria
59 views

Meet Nigeria’s First Female Combatant Pilots In History Since 1960 Independence (Photos)

MT - January 19, 2018

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has disclosed on Wednesday, January 17, 2017, during commissioning of 11 young pilots that the two female combatants among the pilots are…

Meet The Governorship Aspirant “Melting The Hearts” Of Online Users (Photos)
Politics
46 views
Politics
46 views

Meet The Governorship Aspirant “Melting The Hearts” Of Online Users (Photos)

MT - January 19, 2018

The 2019 general elections will be apparently be great. A governorship aspirant, comrade Sani Garba Gusau has become an online sensation after melting hearts of online users…

Loading...