The Maine Public Broadcasting Network
Listen Live
Classical 24
Search
Maine Oceanographers study climate change in the South Atlantic
02/02/2011   Reported By: Tom Porter
Dr. Barney Balch

Oceanographers from Maine are among a team of 23 scientists sailing across the South Atlantic studying the effects of climate change on marine life and future ability of the ocean to sustain life.

Related Media
Maine Oceanographers study climate change in the S Listen
 Duration:
4:58
An Extended Interview with Dr. Balch Listen
 Duration:
20:13

Dr. Barney Balch (R.Fowler photo) 
Oceanographers from Maine are among a team of 23 scientists sailing across the South Atlantic studying the effects of climate change on marine life and future ability of the ocean to sustain life.

Leading the 5-week expedition is Dr. Barney Balch, from the Bigelow Ocean Sciences Lab in West Boothbay, Maine.
In the challenging, remote and often turbulent southern oceans, the team is collecting samples and conducting experiments aboard the research vessel Melville, as it sails the 7,000 miles from Chile to Cape Town, South Africa, where it's due to arrive in 2 weeks time..

Dr Balch spoke to us recenly via satellite phone, having just competed a night's work studying samples.

V Melville (J.Goés photo)

Scientists, he explains, already know that as carbon dioxide builds in the atmosphere and is absorbed into the ocean, seawater is becoming more acidic. What's not yet known is the full effect this is having on ocean life.


One result is that it's dissolving the shells of the phytoplankton that form that large belt Dr Balch is talking about - known as the Great Southern Belt it's a huge annual plankton bloom in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dr Barney Balch speaking earlier from a research vessel near Antarctica.
He. says the findings from the expedition won't be fully known until all the samples have been fully analyzed and written up, sometime next year.

To hear more from Dr. Balch, and check out the expedition's daily blog: Information is online at www.bigelow.org and in real-time blogs from the ship by Bigelow staff http://greatbeltresearchcruise.com/news and Colby College http://web.colby.edu/colbyatsea.

 Photo Credits: Photo of Dr. Balch by Rebecca Fowler; photo of R/V Melville by Joaquim Goés.

ReturnReturn!



Become a Fan of the NEW MPBNNews Facebook page. Get news, updates and unique content to share and discuss:

Recommended by our audience on Facebook:
Copyright © 2014 Maine Public Broadcasting Network. All rights reserved.