Category: Geoscience

The effects of temperature and methane gas levels on the bacterial mats that reside on the gas hydrates in the Barkley Canyon

K. MacLellan \ Oceans First, Issue 2, 2015, pgs. 50-59.

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Abstract:

Methane gas hydrates reside in harsh environments and can be an ecological and environmental hazard if their high pressure and low temperature conditions are not met. However, they are capable of supporting a diverse ecosystem that includes bacterial mats. An Ocean Networks Canada’s observatory allows the hydrates located off the west coast of Vancouver to be continuously monitored by methane and temperature sensors as well as observed seasonally by remotely operated vehicles. These observations made it possible to study the effect that water temperature and methane levels have on the bacterial mats that reside on the top of methane hydrate mounds. High methane levels may result in the decreased presence of bacterial mats due to the bacteria’s adaptation to move through different layers of hydrate sediment when the environment is disturbed.

Downfall of a Phylum? The negative effects of ocean acidification and ocean temperature rise on foraminifera populations

J. Sicheri \ Oceans First, Issue 2, 2015, pgs. 42-49.

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Abstract:

Ocean acidification and rising ocean temperatures both pose threats to many marine organisms’ physiology and habitats. This paper will establish whether or not these factors have a negative impact on populations of foraminifera, an important type of zooplankton, and if so, to what severity? In addition, this paper promotes the need for more research into the effects of acidification and warming on marine life. While the predicted impacts in reviewed studies varied in severity, they all agreed that ocean acidification, and to a lesser extent ocean temperature rise, will negatively impact foraminifera. Most researchers also agreed that more research must be done to understand the full extent of the impacts of ocean acidification and ocean temperature rise on foraminifera. This paper concludes that the cumulative effect of climate change as a whole be more harmful to foraminifera than any individual factor. Research examining the combined impact of climate change factors such as ocean temperature rise and ocean acidification should be undertaken.

No Air: Should We Care? Examining Spirontocaris sica living in a hypoxic environment

E. MacLean \ Oceans First, Issue 2, 2015, pgs. 23-32.

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Abstract:

The increase of hypoxic zones in the oceans is jeopardizing marine ecosystems. Benthic ecosystems have shown to be particularly vulnerable to these zones. In this paper, the correlation between hypoxic oxygen levels and a benthic shrimp, Spirontocaris sica, was examined to understand how benthic organisms might adapt to hypoxia. Spirontocaris sica was studied in its naturally hypoxic environment, Saanich Inlet, BC. In an examination of the Spirontocaris sica population and oxygen levels over the period from October 2009 to October 2010, no correlation between the two variables was observed. These findings suggest that the Spirontocaris sica population is independent of oxygen levels. Possible explanations of this trend may be due to an abundant food source or an environmental factor causing abnormal dispersal. These other factors should be investigated in future studies as they have the potential to reactivate post-hypoxic ecosystems.

Effects of climate change on ocean dead zones

I. Hurley \ Oceans First, Issue 2, 2015, pgs. 17-22.

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Abstract: Over this century ocean dead zones are expected to dramatically increase in number. This paper reviews articles describing how climate change will impact ocean dead zones. These studies show that there are many aspects of climate change that affect dead zones. Primarily, an increase in temperature on dead zones, examined in depth in this review, will to lead to the expansion of dead zones through mechanisms such as stratification. Other aspects of climate change, such as changes in patterns of precipitation and changes in ocean circulation, will also affect ocean dead zones, though currently not enough research exists to say definitively how. Overall, the studies reviewed suggest that climate change will cause dead zones to spread globally.

The development of palaeotsunami research

S. Skripsky \ Oceans First, Issue 2, 2015, pgs. 10-16.

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Abstract:

Over the last thirty years, the study of palaeotsunamis has received increasing attention. A palaeotsunami is a tsunami that happened in the distant past that there is no written record of. This paper will review the progress achieved and obstacles encountered in this field of palaeotsunamis. It will review how techniques, such as optical dating and radiocarbon dating, are used on coastal sediments to expand our understanding of palaeotsunamis. The main study sites discussed in this paper are located in New Zealand and British Columbia because these regions have different coastal deposits. By studying palaeotsunamis, researchers are able to better model and predict future tsunamis. Future ambition for this field of study is using palaeotsunami data to create a worldwide tsunami risk assessment, and being able to distinguish between sediments produced by palaeotsunamis or palaeostorms.

Variations in oxygen level in relation to temperature in the hydrothermal vents of the Juan de Fuca Ridge

N. Pentyliuk \ Oceans First, Issue 1, 2014, pgs. 51-58.

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Abstract:

Le Chatelier’s principle predicts that the heating of water decreases oxygen solubility, and the cooling of water causes an increase in oxygen solubility. This paper determined whether reject or not reject that principle at the hydrothermal vents. By recording and analysing both temperature and oxygen levels over time at the hydrothermal vents of the Main Endeavour Field, a correlation between oxygen level variation and temperature change was observed, where increase in one is correlated with a decrease in the other. This data and the conclusions of other research papers support the correlation between oxygen level variation and temperature. These conclusions highlight the concern that the chemical and physical gradients that the hydrothermal vent communities rely on could be severely affected by an increase in ocean temperature – an increase that may be due to anthropogenic activity.

Sea level rise in Halifax Harbour: A statistical analysis

P. Lombardi \ Oceans First, Issue 1, 2014, pgs. 20-25.

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Abstract:

Sea level rise in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia has been documented since 1896. It plays a vital role in harbour policy making and planning. The purpose of this paper is to outline the base sea level rise that can be expected in Halifax Harbour by 2100. This was accomplished through the use of statistical analysis of sea level data obtained from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL). A trend was derived using past annual mean sea level measurements which allowed a prediction to be made of a minimal rise in sea level of 30 cm by 2100. Acceleration agents were discussed to be taken into account by readers. The results of this study are to be used by policy makers, planners, and scientists as a tool to enact mitigation and future research.