This five-day summer course aims to provide students with a systematic and comprehensive overview of the impact of global climate change and the rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 on ocean ecosystems, with a particular focus on the three major impacts of ocean warming, ocean acidification and hypoxia.
Oceans play a vital role in the global carbon cycle by acting as a sink for the increase in atmospheric CO2 from fossil fuel burning and other processes. Notably, the ‘biological pump’, the suite of processes by which some of the carbon taken up by phytoplankton in surface waters is transferred to and stored in the deep ocean, reduces atmospheric CO2 by 200 ppm relative to what it would be with an abiotic ocean.
Rising air and ocean temperatures due to the well-known ‘greenhouse effect’ produce a warmer and more-stratified upper ocean, which reduces nutrient mixing into the surface and the downward transport of oxygen to deeper water. Ocean acidification, caused by increasing CO2 and decreasing pH in surface layers, also has a profound effect on marine organisms, especially calcifiers (including algae, corals, and bivalves), and the integrity and function of marine ecosystems. All these climate change impacts have direct ramifications for the ocean’s functionality in making planet earth habitable and the economic value of ocean ecosystems.
Summer courses in this series have been taught every other year since 2013, generally with an emphasis on climate impacts on the structure and functioning of marine microbial communities. The 2019 course will focus on specific global change impacts -- warming, ocean acidification and subsurface oxygen depletion -- on marine ecosystems, particularly microbial food web dynamics. Participants can expect daily lectures, supplemented by workshops, tutorials, poster sessions, and demonstrations in the afternoon. With the small class size, special emphasis will be put on student-faculty interactions.
The course is limited to a maximum of 30 postgraduate or early career participants and will be conducted in English.
(hosted by Prof. Hongbin Liu)