Here are my updated system diagrams for my research topic and how I will present it:
The blue circle indicates areas of my research that I feel less certain about. These areas will hopefully be cleared up for me as I continue doing my own independent research and meet with my expert, Logan Brenner, this Friday. I really enjoyed creating this diagram for my presentation because it really fleshed out for me what I want to present and how it will tie back to my research.
I also decided to start creating some work as part of my final project. I used a Processing sketch and I’m trying to depict some beautiful coral reefs. In the next iteration I’m going to work on them slowly fading and dissolving away. I am also planning on adding in marine life to show the rich ecosystem they support.
I also feel I’m making great headways with my research and have been able to improve upon my working definition of ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is a direct results of the billions of tons of carbon dioxide that we have been pumping into the air since the industrial revolution. Skeptics will (correctly) note that the oceans have been this acidic in the past, but this is the first time the cause is not a natural disaster like a meteor. As CO2 is absorbed by the ocean, a chemical reaction occurs that reduces the oceans’ pH levels and carbonate ion concentration. This has both direct and indirect effects on the vast majority of the oceans’ ecosystems. The chemical reactions of ocean acidification reduce the saturation states of calcium carbonate minerals that are used by shell forming organisms such as coral reefs and pteropods. Coral reefs is home to the most diverse ecosystem outside of the amazon, and pteropods are eaten by everything from krill to whales. And these are just the direct effects! Ocean acidification will also exacerbate everything from overfishing to destruction of habitats. Curbing all carbon dioxide emissions immediately is an impossible goal, and even if we did, the long lasting effects of this greenhouse gas will be felt for years. Many scientists argue that in addition to reducing CO2 emissions, to need to heavily reduce non-climate stressors to the oceans in order to save them.