Author: Kim Fulton-Bennett
source: Phys.org 
July 20, 2012
"Over the last 150 years, human beings have released hundreds of billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the Earth's atmosphere. About one quarter of this carbon has been absorbed by the world's oceans, causing them to become more acidic. Ocean acidification is especially dangerous to corals and other organisms that build skeletons out of calcium carbonate. Many experiments have documented the effects of ocean acidification in the laboratory, but few have been performed in the natural environment. A recent article in Nature Publishing's Scientific Reports journal describes the first controlled field experiment to test the effects of acidification on coral reefs—a multi-institutional effort that involved several MBARI engineers and was based on pioneering work at MBARI.
Since 2003, MBARI researchers led by Peter Brewer have been developing field experiments in which they create small, precisely controlled changes in the acidity (pH) of seawater within test chambers in the open ocean. These "Free-Ocean Carbon dioxide Enrichment" (FOCE) experiments were modeled after "Free-Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment" (FACE) experiments previously conducted on land. Between 2005 and 2011, Brewer's team built and deployed their first working FOCE experiment in the deep sea, about 900 meters below the surface of Monterey Bay.
After learning about MBARI's project at conferences, other researchers realized that the monitoring and control systems used in MBARI's FOCE system were applicable not only in the deep sea, but in other marine environments as well. While the MBARI team was still building and testing the deep-sea FOCE system, they began getting calls from researchers around the world who were interested in building similar ocean-acidification test systems."
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