“The acidification of the ocean today is bigger and faster than anything geologists can find in the fossil record over the past 65 million years”

~ Carl Zimmer, science writer for the New York Times

This quote is taken from an article written by Carl Zimmer in February 2010, a science writer for the New York Times, where he delves into the subject of ocean acidification. Particularly interesting is his focus on a research study conducted aboard the research vessel JOIDES Resolution. Scientists aboard this vessel extracted sediment cores in the Southeast Atlantic during 2003 and made a very interesting discovery.

About 55 million years ago, a huge drop in ocean pH levels caused massive extinctions, particularly in the deep ocean. The scientists estimated that it took hundreds and thousands of years for the oceans to recover from the event. When compared to the ocean acidification rates documented today, they found that the present rate is much faster than the rate which caused this catastrophic extinction event 55 million years ago.

Our Website

This website provides an overview of one of the most pressing and least talked about environmental issues of our time, ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is sometimes referred to as global climate change’s evil twin brother. It is the indirect effect of ever-increasing CO2 levels in our atmosphere, which many did not know about until recently. Thanks to a wave of new research on the subject, scientists have begun to shed light on the potential effects ocean acidification has and may have on marine organisms and ocean ecosystems.


Marianna E. Bradley, Masters of Environmental Management Candidate 2011, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment

Section(s): Introduction, Indirect Effects, and Solutions


Nicole Chang, Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, Minor in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Candidate 2010, Duke University, Trinity School of Arts & Sciences

Section(s): Introduction, Causes, and Direct Effects



Zimmer, Carl. "An Ominous Warning on the Effects of Ocean Acidification." New York Times 15 Feb 2010: n. pag. Web. 18 Apr 2010

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