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Ocean Acidification and Marine Worlds in the Pacific Ocean (Fine Brendtner)

Ocean Acidification is one of our most important yet hardly visible environmental issues to date. Decades of immense carbon absorption have slowly changed the biochemical makeup of the world's ocean. Its waters are turning acid, leaving small and vital organisms such as corals and plankton vulnerable to vanish under pressure of their changing environment (IPCC 2019).

Zooplankton are now becoming scientific vectors and a type of “ambassador species” forecasting oceanic futures in dissolve. Pteropods, also known as limacina helicina or sea butterfly, are one such example. This charismatic marine animal forms an extremely thin shell from the calcium in surrounding waters. Studies predict that the sea snail's shell will disappear during this century due to ocean acidification (Lischka et al. 2011). Oysters and other calcifying shellfish are similarly effected by more acid waters. In studying the material disruption and entanglement of the human carbon cycle with these marine forms of life, my research turns its attention to the embodiment of environmental histories in marine life, to the methodological challenges of more-than-human approaches to natureculture studies and the relationality of diversely situated, yet connected, ocean regions. 

For this study I therefore combine anthropological methodology with natural science observations in the Pacific Ocean and work in collaboration with marine scientists, local aquaculture farmers and coastal inhabitants. 


  • Lischka, Silke, Büdenbender, Jan, Boxhammer, Tim and Riebesell, Ulf. 2011. Impact of ocean acidification and elevated temperatures on early juveniles of the polar shelled pteropod Limacina helicina: mortality, shell degradation, and shell growth. Biogeosciences, 8. pp. 919-932.
  • IPCC. (2019). IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. Geneva:IPCC.