The grant is specifically to underwrite EDC’s efforts to address the significant environmental impacts of ocean acidification in the Santa Barbara Channel and in oceans throughout the world. The grant will also support a conference at UCSB, which will bring together experts on ocean chemistry issues to educate the University community about ongoing research and decision-making processes, to engender understanding of the roles of the various stakeholders and regulators, and to encourage student and faculty engagement in the policy-making process.
The Coastal Fund has been created and funded by the students at the University of California, Santa Barbara in order to preserve and enhance the ecological integrity of the coastal habitats at and near the university. “Ocean acidification is an international issue,” said Scott Bull, Grant Manager of the Coastal Fund, “but it has the potential for significant and almost immediate impacts on the fisheries and other marine habitats near UCSB. Our University is already a leader in research on this issue, and we look forward to sharing information on this important topic with the UCSB and greater communities.” Often referred to as the “other carbon dioxide (CO2) problem,” ocean acidification is the chemical changes taking place in the oceans as they absorb increasing atmospheric CO2 and become more acidic. Calcifying marine creatures, including corals and small ecologically important groups of planktonic swimming snails called pteropods,have difficulty developing their shells in more acidic water. Since many of these marine creatures provide habitat and food for other marine life and humans, their loss would have a devastating ripple effect on the food web (including human foods).
The Coastal Fund grant will support a workshop at the University and the work of EDC, with the assistance of a UCSB intern, to produce and distribute a public service announcement creating public awareness of the ocean acidification issue. The workshop is expected to take place end of winter quarter or early spring quarter. Updated information can be found on either the EDC or Coastal Fund website.
The Environmental Defense Center works primarily within Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties by protecting and enhancing the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action. Since 1977, EDC has empowered community-based organizations to advance environmental protection. Program areas include protecting coast and ocean resources, open spaces and wildlife, and human and environmental health. For more information visit www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org.
Coastal Fund is a student-funded, student-run organization that serves to preserve, protect, and enhance the terrestrial and marine habitats associated with the UCSB shoreline. Since the fall of 1999, Coastal Fund has granted $1.68 million to over 417 projects.
For more information on projects and funding opportunities visit www.coastalfund.org.