ANACORTES — The National Science Foundation has awarded a $543,000 grant to two scientists at Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center to study the effects of ocean acidification on organisms that form the base of the ocean’s food web.
Marine scientist Brady Olson and WWU assistant professor Brooke Love collaborated with Julie Keister of the University of Washington to get the grant. The study builds on past ocean-acidification research the two did with National Science Foundation funding.
The world’s oceans have become more acidic since the industrial revolution started, and it has been happening faster in recent decades, according to a press release from Western about the grant. The acidic environment is due in part to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolving into the ocean, the release states.
Changes in ocean chemistry can affect marine plants and animals in a variety of ways. Olson and Love research how those impacts can reverberate through the food web, affecting the overall health of the marine ecosystem.
The grant also will fund upgrades to the marine center’s facilities and training for WWU students who attend classes and do research there.
Part of Olson and Love’s research project will be to educate k-12 students and the public about how the scientists and students study the relatively young and less-known field of ocean acidification.