BRLT and Ocean Acidification
In December 2017, BRLT was approached by a representative from the University of Maine regarding oceanographic research, specifically regarding ocean acidification. From visiting our website, they were very impressed with the data and findings that we had posted. This led to our participation in two webinars with oceanographers from UMaine, NOAA, the US EPA, the Maine DEP, the University of New Hampshire and other oceanographic scientists and citizen groups such as BRLT, on the subject of ocean acidification. These webinars led to our being invited to a day-long workshop on the same subject in early May, 2018. At the workshop, we learned, shared, and BRLT became recognized in this scientific community as a credible citizen science group that is of value to this research community. A short time after this workshop, at a Maine Coastal Observing Alliance (MCOA) meeting in Damariscotta, BRLT met with two UMaine research oceanographers who requested all the data we have as part of a NOAA-funded project to assess the impact of acidification along the Maine coast estuaries; we have sent them our data. Their NOAA study is three years long but we should get views into their research as time progresses.
We should all recognize that the true value of data in performing research is the discovery of trends through a long term collection process. It doesn’t happen in just one or two years of sampling. At the workshop, BRLT gave a presentation on the number of sites we have and the dedication of our samplers……The audience was impressed that we have assembled such a volunteer army! Kudos to you all!!
Ocean acidification is a hot topic in the oceanographic world especially for the Northeast US. Later this summer we will put together a short presentation on this subject to explain what ocean acidification is all about and how our efforts are contributing to the research.
Additionally, we have renewed our partnership with the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and MCOA who have agreed to be members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
[from the BRLT Summer 2016 Newsletter] “For the second year, BRLT is training coastal water quality monitoring volunteers and collecting data from ten sites around the peninsula. These tests monitor threats to ocean health, such as nutrient overloading, oxygen depletion, rising seawater temperatures and ocean acidification.
In 2015, BRLT joined forces with MCOA and began recording pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and turbidity levels of seawater. MCOA collects this data from citizen scientists throughout Maine’s estuaries, from Casco Bay to Penobscot Bay. The MCOA summary report from the first year’s monitoring found that the estuaries were generally healthy, in terms of nutrients and oxygen, but that low pH levels are a concern.
BRLT has received a second John Sage Foundation grant, which let us purchase our own water monitoring kits. These kits contain all necessary equipment to continue our water sampling program and strengthen it for many years to come.”