This past week was spent doing lots of data mining again. I’m learning more and more about reproduction and larval development for bivalves. It’s nice to gain more knowledge in this area since I only had a brief brush with concepts such as an animal being dioecious or monoecious in Biology 101 freshmen year.
The one thing that was significantly different about this week was that I was actually able to input data into the PICES database! Certainly a very exciting step for me. The database now says “Data last updated by Margaret” which makes me feel pretty important (even if it only entails me changing certain things in the life history section of certain species I am reading about).
On Friday, we had the mid-summer check in and it was nice seeing some Sea Grant faces I hadn’t seen since I first came to Oregon. It was interesting hearing about everyone’s various projects and the progress they were making. We had some yummy pizza from American Dream Pizza for lunch and then set out to set up the Oregon Sea Grant booth at da Vinci days. Set up proved to be a bit more difficult than expected but then Eric came to the rescue and helped to complete the large display for all the Sea Grant information (check out the Oregon Sea Grant Flickr gallery for some photos).
Saturday was spent volunteering and checking out the various booths at da Vinci days. I have to confess that the food stands were my favorite part (I had some salmon ceasar salad, delicious curly fries, and an elephant ear). Unfortunately, I missed the kinetic sculpture races and I imagine that would have been another favorite of mine.
I was interested in a question that struck me when I was giving my presentation which was “Why is the deeper water that comes up during upwelling considered more corrosive?”. I asked my mentor and he explained that decomposing material that falls to the deeper waters release CO2 and that there is no new oxygen production happening down there, only respiration. These two factors are the main reason why the water is more acidic down there.
But then something else struck me: Will there continue to be a significant differential between the pH of surface water and deeper water as surface water begins to take in the accumulating atmospheric CO2? If the pHs get closer to one another as time goes by, upwelling might not even be an issue in the future because ocean water will just be generally more acidic no matter where it comes from.
My mentor thought this was a good question so now I am going to be doing some literature research to see if I can gather information on the expected pH changes to ocean water in the future so that I can compare it to the pH of deeper ocean water right now. I’m interested to see what I will find from this search.