Four scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) are spending the month of May in Norway investigating the effect of increased ocean acidification on marine microbe populations, a vital, but until recently, largely ignored aspect of climate change.

Increased levels of atmospheric CO2 have helped to acidify the world's oceans and it's predicted that by 2100 pH levels will have dropped to values not experienced for thousands of years.

Andy Whiteley, Rob Griffiths, Lyndsay Newbold and Tim Booth, all based at the CEH research site in Oxford, will be keeping a weblog of their work at the Bergen "mesocosms", a huge floating laboratory on the waters of the Raunefjord in West Norway.

During the experiment six large plastic containers, each holding 12000 litres of seawater, will have CO2 pumped into them to lower pH levels. Nutrients will then be added to induce a phytoplankton bloom. The team will monitor bacterial and viral populations allowing a unique insight into how increasing ocean acidification changes the diversity and function of marine microbial assemblages.

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