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Studying Acidification in the Field

By pumping enormous test tubes that are 60-feet deep and hold almost 15,000 gallons of water with carbon dioxide to make the water inside more acidic, researchers can study how zooplankton, phytoplankton and other small organisms will adapt in the wild.
© Yves Gladu

When studying ocean acidification in the lab, it's hard to study more than one or two species at a time. But in the wild, whole ecosystems with many organisms, big and small, will be affected. How can you study such large, complex areas without destroying them in the process? Researchers with BIOACID (Biological Impacts Of Ocean Acidification) are doing this by placing enormous test tubes that are 60-feet deep and hold almost 15,000 gallons of water in the ocean and pumping them full of carbon dioxide to make the water inside more acidic. This way, they can study how zooplankton, phytoplankton and other small organisms will adapt to these changes in the wild.