Learn more: What is vertical migration?

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One of the elements that was included in the research paper that was left out of the data analysis task was the relevance of vertical migration.

The science team measured a variety of different chemical and physical properties of the ocean at different depths, including pH. The graph above shows two lines for pH. The black line is based on data gathered by the Catlin Ice Base scientists. The grey line shows predicted levels of pH assuming a 0.4 unit decrease in ocean acidity. The graphs show that there are varying levels of pH at different depths.

Copepods live at different depths as well. They feed at night on phytoplankton (algae) near the surface and then descend deeper during the day to avoid predators. The graph above shows the different levels of vertical migration for different species of copepod, as well as nauplii (copepod larvae).

The data sets examined in this resource booklet are adult Calanus (a genus of copepod) and nauplii from both Calanus and Oithona genera. You can see that adult Calanus have a large vertical range and so are exposed to a wider range of pH levels during their lives. The nauplii have a shorter range and so experience less of a variation in pH levels.

The research found that species and life stage sensitivities to future ocean acidification levels were correlated with their vertical migration behaviour, i.e. with their natural exposure to different range of pH.

Subject Update Learn More Vertical Migration Figure 1
Temperature (°C) and salinity profiles through the water column at the CIB (A); water column profile of pH from the 2011 data (mean ± SD; black circles) calculated from DIC and alkalinity and the projected pH for year 2100 (gray circles), assuming a 0.4-unit decrease across the 200-m water column (B); water column profile of pCO2 from the 2011 data (mean ± SD; black circles) calculated from DIC and alkalinity and the projected pCO2 for year 2100 (gray circles), assuming a doubling of atmospheric CO2 (C); and illustration of the depth of vertical migration of copepod species observed at the CIB and investigated in the OA experiments (D). Edited from: Lewis CN, Brown KA, Edwards LA, Cooper G, Findlay HS (2013) Sensitivity to ocean acidification parallels natural pCO2 gradients experienced by Arctic copepods under winter sea ice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (51) E4960–E4967
Frozen Oceans Science 14 16 Thumb

Science | Ages 14-16

Frozen Oceans

This Frozen Oceans unit outlines the research carried out by the Catlin Arctic Surveys and can be used in teaching the carbon cycle, ocean acidification and its impact on the Arctic ecosystem.