The Deep

Bringing ocean acidification to the surface with new exhibit

Posted: 19th February, 2020

A new exhibit named Changing Seas has opened at The Deep in Hull this week, featuring amazing new species including Red lionfish, Yellow dog faced pufferfish, Leopard moral eels and soft corals.

This exhibit however, has a very important message and aims to informing visitors about how climate change is affecting our oceans and what this means for the animals who live there.

The display was designed and executed in-house by the talented team of Aquarists, and took almost a year from concept to completion. The team paired with Dr Christina Roggatz, a research fellow working within the Energy & Environment Institute at Hull University, following her recent research study into this field. 

Dr Roggatz’ work focuses on how the ocean pH is dropping due to increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and how this can affect marine organisms. It explores the impact increased ocean acidity can have on the every-day life of marine crustaceans, such as shore crabs. She also recently investigated how two of the most potent biotoxins in the oceans are affected by climate change and showed that they will become more toxic by the year 2100.

Dr Roggatz said: “This display is the culmination of around a year of collaboration between the university and The Deep. The purpose of the display is to inform people about the impact of climate change on our oceans, by providing new facts people did not know before. They will definitely learn something new, because the effects of pH on smell molecules and biotoxins have only recently been uncovered.

“The molecule models were calculated on the University’s supercomputer VIPER. They make the influence of climate change very visible which now form an integral part of the new exhibit. They show the impact of climate change at a very different level to what people usually get to see and know.

Dr Roggatz continues: “It is a great honour to have my work go on display at The Deep.”

Ben Jones, Curator at The Deep said: “This exhibit tells a really important story and is designed to help our visitors understand the threats to our oceans.

“Throughout history, small changes in water chemistry have taken millions of years, giving animals plenty of time to adapt. However the rate of ocean acidification is now faster than ever. pH change is an invisible danger, quietly changing our seas with potentially disastrous consequences.

“By the year 2100, the pH of the ocean is estimated to fall from 8.1 to 7.7. This small change of 0.4pH will mean the seas are 4 times more acidic causing huge problems for marine life. We hope by showcasing this issue within our exhibit, we can inspire our visitors to make a difference and help protect the oceans from further damage.”


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