Ocean Acidification Radio Podcast

by leochai219 on November 2, 2016 - 3:13pm

Ocean Acidification

(Intro Music: 30 sec long)


 Hey guys, my name is Leo Chai, host of Nature’s Radio Podcast and

      today we will be having a special guest.

 Harriet Minc, a biology student from Guelph University,

 who is here to answer questions about her research on Ocean    



           Hi, great to be here today


Alright, nice to have you here.

So, this is my understanding about ocean acidification.

Correct me if I’m wrong

The ocean is in great danger right now because of the constant increase buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

As a result, there are currently many marine life organisms that are suffering from ocean acidification and the results could jeopardize every organism and being if the ocean continues to be damaged.


Yes, you are correct.

Some of the animals currently suffering are shellfish and coral.

Obviously there are more organisms affected, but we won’t be

able to discuss all of them or we would be sitting here forever.

Anyways, shellfish rely on the calcium carbonate ions to develop their internal and external structures such as their shells.

The shells for these animals are really important to these animals because it protects them from predators and it supports their movement.

When the ocean becomes more acidic, the young shellfish are unable to develop their shells and the older shellfish begin to have their shells dissolved.


                 Wow, that sounds really painful.

                Show some sympathy for these animals, people.

As silly as it may sound for some of you, shellfish are on the bottom of the food chain which means that lots of animals rely on them as a food source.

Think about the birds, turtles, fishes, sea otters, and other predators including yourself!

Red Lobsters is one of the biggest seafood chain in America.

And believe it or not, America consumed about 1.5 billion pounds of shellish in 2014.


That is an insane number and that is just in America alone.

Some of you might say

Oh I don’t need to eat stupid shellfish.

Well, shellfish predators can’t go to a grocery store or fast food restaurant and order food off the menu.

Stop thinking about yourselves and think about nature and the animals that need each other to co-exist.

This is a serious issue that can affect more than just the shellfish.


                  I completely agree with you on that Leo.

 You also got to remember there are corals that are directly affected by ocean acidification.




         Yes! the coral reefs are also affected by it as well.

The rising level of acid within the ocean can cause corals to bleach themselves meaning that they let go of the algae that live inside of them and it causes them to turn white.

         In other words, they would die.


        That is not good.

You listeners out there do understand how important the coral and the coral reef is important to the ocean right?

                 They are like the plants to our earth as it is to their ocean.

         They use photosynthesis to eliminate the carbon dioxide in the ocean.

         Now let’s use some common sense here.

 If there will be less coral reefs in the ocean, there will be less photosynthesis.

 Which means that every living organism in the ocean are screwed because there will be an increasing level of carbon dioxide.

        Which means that the acid levels will increase rapidly within the ocean.

You know that there are 4,000 species of fish that call the coral reef their home, Harriet?


     Yes, I am certainly aware!


     4000 little fish species in the coral reef alone!

     This is ridiculous


Yes!! If the coral reef were to be gone, these fishes can lose their homes and ocean predators would have to compete with one another for limited amount of food.

This chain of events is not only dangerous to the animals, but to us.

The time is now to stop this madness.


                 So Harriet, what can we do to help our ocean?


Unfortunately, there is nothing we could do that would change the ocean ph levels immediately.

        The damage has clearly been done.

        It’s all about taking the small steps to using less fossil fuel and becoming

        more proactive to convince our government to be eco-friendlier.

        Go to work by riding a bike, carpool more, use the public transportation.

These are simple steps that if everyone participated, it could make a difference.

The earth has powers to naturally heal on it’s own throughout time.

We just need to adjust our lifestyles and give the ocean it’s time to make that change.

Be the change, make the difference, and lead the movement towards creating a safer world for everyone and our beloved nature.


Great way to put it Harriet.

Looks like we went over our time a bit.

But people need to learn.

Really appreciate you coming here to drop some knowledge about our ocean to our loyal listeners.


                 Anytime, Leo.


               Well, there you have it. Ocean Acidification with Harriet Minc.

Thanks for listening guys, this is Leo Chai on Nature’s Radio Podcast, see you next time,



Hi Leo,

Great podcast script - I thought you did a wonderful job between balancing the science behind ocean acidification and creating a sympathetic and sentimental argument for why this issue is important. Your script would definitely motivate the average citizen with no scientific background to further investigate this issue and become more aware. Additionally, I really liked how you were able to describe how the decline in shellfish population would impact humans in terms of our food sources. The depletion of the shellfish would also have detrimental effects on the fishing industry. Furthermore, I thought it was very effective how you described simple and easy solutions for the individual person to reduce their carbon footprint. Overall, this podcast was very well suited for the target audience of a general public.

In contrast, whilst also focusing on individual action, I would have preferred to see your podcast focus more on what global initiatives there are to directly address ocean acidification. As part of the Paris Climate Conference, the United Nations have set stringent fossil fuel reduction targets. As you mentioned, the reduction of fossil fuel emissions will decrease the effects of ocean acidification. Furthermore, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched an ocean acidification research council in 2011. Additionally, there are a wide variety of different geoengineering solutions that are currently being researched to decrease the amount of carbon in the oceans. One of these is the addition of mineral dust to our oceans. The minerals are very effective at attracting carbon and thus speeds up the process of causing carbon to sink in the oceans. For more information, you can check out this article: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jan/22/mineral-dust-oceans-...

Overall, you did a really good job at bringing attention to one of the largest global environmental issues which most people of the general public are not aware of.


Hey Leo! I really enjoyed reading your podcast, I wish I could have heard it! The topic of ocean acidification is one that I find really important, so that is why your podcast caught my attention. First off, I like how you chose to set the podcast up by making it a back and forth conversation, it sets your podcast aside from the rest. I also enjoyed that you and Harriet discussed some changes we can make in our lives to help combat ocean acidification. Making these changes is not only beneficial to the oceans, but every other aspect of the planet. We need to minimize our carbon footprints, and that is something I have been trying to do for a few years now.

While I do think that you’ve touched on a lot of important subjects in regards to ocean acidification, I saw some recent news on the Great Barrier Reef that I think would have fit in your podcast nicely. I saw a link that was essentially an obituary to the Great Barrier Reef. The article says, “The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old”. This is certainly alarming to anyone who sees it, and it definitely caught my attention. I’ve posted the link below, it’s an interesting read! I did further research after seeing this post, and found that many were horrified by this false obituary. Scientists critiqued the post and pointed out a number of flaws. The Great Barrier Reef is NOT dead, but it is definitely dying. While this obituary may have been a little over the top, I think there were definitely some benefits to it. If people think the Great Barrier Reef is dead I would hope they do further research like I did, only to find out the Reef is not yet dead. Perhaps then they would make changes to their lifestyles and minimize their carbon footprint for the sake of the Great Barrier Reef and our oceans in general. I suggest that you and anyone else who sees these links checks them out, they are worth the read. The first link is the obituary, and the second is an article pointing out the flaws in it.

I am glad that you chose the topic of ocean acidification to base your podcast on, and hope that anyone who reads or hears it understands the importance of saving our oceans!


Hi Leo,
I found your post to be insightful and entertaining! Your passion and knowledge on the issue of ocean acidification is conveyed clearly and I think it could even be a source of motivation to the audience to make more environmentally conscious choices. For example, the amount of shellfish consumed by people in America alone is quite significant and even though some people don’t consume any shellfish that doesn’t stop them from being negatively impacted by other creatures. Thus, even though not everyone directly contributes to the issue that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about it!

In that way, society carries quite an anthropocentric view about the environment, which could result not only in degradation but in rehabilitation of the environment as well. As you mentioned, there are numerous practical ways we can reduce our fossil fuel emissions however, that may not be enough. There should be a deeper systemic shift in how we view and value the environment and it’s attributes. Realizing the environment has intrinsic value, regardless of the things it provides for us, would result in more stringent environmental laws and regulations. Furthermore, people should be making environmentally friendly choices simply because it’s the right thing to do and the alternative is not a viable option when considering the environmental and social impacts.
You did a really good job on this topic and I found it to be really informative and educational.


Hi leochai219!

First of all, I would like to say that you had an awesome podcast! I liked the way you kept the audience intrigued by changing the tone of the podcast and emphasizing that there is a problem. You made the podcast a little humorous which was enough to keep the audience engaged but did not take away from the serious problem of ocean acidification. I also thought that you asked Harriet thoughtful questions and emphasized the fact that this is a growing problem that can affect the shellfish which in turn, will affect us.

Has the United States implemented any ideas to help prevent ocean acidification? I am curious if the United States has done anything because they have a strong influence in the world and they could have the power to do something about it. I feel like including something like this would spread the word quicker because if the United States is involved, then they could have the power to change the minds of the people and others listening in.

Hi Leo,
I really enjoyed reading your post! I think you did a great job at setting up the dialogue and I really felt as though I was listening/reading a radio podcast. My attention was immediately drawn to the structure of your podcast and the excitement you expressed towards the issue. I liked the way you simplified the issue to make it more relatable to the listeners who may not know anything about the cause and effects of ocean acidification. I think another good feature was how you asked Harriet what we could do to help the oceans and she mentioned easy everyday changes that could made that would make a big difference.

I recently read an article that explains how fish are not only having their homes destroyed because of ocean acidification but that ocean acidification is also disturbing the brain functioning of many fish. This is making the fish more fearless and they don’t feel the need to find the reef as soon as possible after hatching. Not only are their reefs becoming sparser, but also the fish don’t care as much about finding them! This is a problem for many reasons and the fish are now becoming food to more creatures more often. Here is the link to the article http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2016/0... I found it very interesting and it could be useful for your podcast as well.

Again I really enjoyed your post and I think it would sound great as an actual podcast!


Hi Leo,

Your post is very informative and stresses the biggest environmental impacts that ocean acidification has. I think focusing on shellfish and coral was a good path to take as these two things will in turn affect the entire ocean. We would be here forever if we were to list all the organisms that would be affected. Your explanations of these impacts was simple and right to the point; shellfish and coral dying affects the whole ocean ecosystem and they are suffering. Your reactions to the answers Harriet was giving you are unfortunately a very accurate representation of how little people really know about this issue. I feel maybe a little more scientific explanation would have helped listeners understand that (and how) humans are the sole cause of this issue. Personally I am very concerned for the future of the ocean and feel worried about the small list of things we can currently do to attempt to reduce the impacts. I think the issue needs to receive way more attention, and if we had real radio broadcasts like this one may we can bring it into the light.

Hi Leo,
Great podcast! I think you really added some interesting information to the facts that I was able to provide you with. In my own research, I think I neglected the aspect of human dependency on shellfish in the global economy. Although 1.5 billion pounds of shellfish consumed by Americans per year is an impressive statistic, it is extremely worrying from a biological standpoint. At the rate in which humans are consuming these animals, we are surpassing the species ability to restock their populations. In conjunction with ocean acidification and the rate at which shellfish are dying, this is concerning for the sustainability of these creatures. I think an emphasis on coral reefs are also important as they are an integral part of the oceanic biome and they are becoming more endangered every day.

Resource management is difficult in massive water bodies, and cognitive and value conflict can occur between non-government organizations and the government itself. Different studies and data collection methods, along with contrasting values can create a rift in conservation methods. Even if both parties want the identical end goal of ocean conservation, the way they want to obtain the objective may differ. Groups must work together without being distracted by conflict and uncertainty, as the end goal of balancing the oceans pH and saving shelled marine organisms is significantly more important. Overall, great post, hopefully, you can continue to learn about the effects of ocean acidification on marine species!


Hi Leo,

I really enjoyed your podcast! I liked how you discussed the scientific issues surrounding ocean acidification but at the same time still made it entertaining and related it to our every day lives, such as how much seafood people eat and how ocean predators can't just go to the grocery store and choose an alternative if shellfish run out. I also really enjoyed how you ended the podcast with suggestions on what us listeners can do to help alleviate the problem, as I often find that people will discuss environmental issues but then not suggest any ways in which we can help the problem. I think that on top of the suggestions you made such as trying to reduce our carbon emissions, you also have a public platform where you could somewhat advertise a way in which people who want to go above and beyond could make a donation to the scientists who are constantly studying and working on this problem. For example, you could have quickly mentioned the Ocean Concervancy which deals with many ocean issues including acidification, and accepts donations on their website: http://www.oceanconservancy.org/places/pacific-coast/?gclid=CN_Zy8eqodAC...

Hi Leo,
Great transcript! Your conversation had a very natural flow and I like how you made the topic relevant to listeners by bringing up Red Lobster and encouraging empathy to other animals. Shellfish definitely don't have the same charisma that whales and dolphins have when it comes to people being concerned about their future but you gave them importance. I also appreciated how you simplified the topic to make it understandable to all listeners.
I have just watched the new Leonardo Di Caprio documentary, "Before the Flood" about climate change. You should definitely watch it if you haven't already, it is really well done. I was reminded of this documentary because of the suggestions Harriet made such as riding your bike, and taking public transit to help to give the oceans time to heal. In the movie Leo talks about how at first climate change was just just being tackled individually in this way by changing to energy efficient lightbulbs etc. but how now we need much more drastic measures because we are still a world stuck on fossil fuels, and what good does an efficient light bulb really do when a climate change denier like Trump is now in such a high position of power. I think if we want to give the oceans a fighting chance we really need to do more, such as pressure the government, stop eating meat, support movements like #NoDAPL, and take nothing but a shift to green energy as an okay solution.

Hello Leo,
First of all, great podcast! I thought you delivered the issue both courteously and engagingly which definitely broaden your audience. There were couple of things that I really liked about your dialog. To begin with, I thought the construction of this podcast was less starchy and more sympathetic because you made it into a conversation rather than just asking a question and getting an answer. Moreover, adding some hummer once in a while made the podcast less boring and you still manage to inform this serious environmental issue which I thought was an effective way to make awareness.

I chose to read your post (podcast) because something always draws me when it comes to ocean and its environment and I have also written a blog post about ocean acidification not long ago. Indeed, regardless of the size, shellfish and coral are one of the most important marine animals not only for sustaining the food chain or protecting the eco-system, but also for dynamizing the economy as well. For example, both shellfish and coral can affect the seafood industry such as seafood producers, restaurants and markets because damage to these animals means decrease in the number; thus, the price will go up and there will be less consumption. Another example can be seen in the tourism industry because coral reefs, along with its diverse marine life, fascinates many people to go diving or snorkeling, which is a popular activity when people are on a vacation; thus, if the coral reefs continue to die, there will be less tourists and the industry will be in a recession. Clearly, we can see that the economy is very susceptible when it comes to environmental degradation.
Hence, although I am seeing this from a different perspective as from you and your interviewee, I also believe that ocean acidification is not only a concern for those who enjoy seafood but for everyone who lives on the earth. The uncertainty of its affect in the long-run makes it more terrifying to think what may happen to the ocean, the marine animals and even us humans, and I truly believe that people have to wake up and start acting towards a more sustainable life.

Hi Leo!

I was very intrigued by your radio cast as I am very concerned about the issue of coral bleaching. I am particularly concerned about the large scale coral bleaching that is occurring in the largest coral reef on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. As you were mentioning, a large diversity of species reside within these corals, so you can only imagine how many species are under threat within the Great Barrier Reef. The following is a helpful reference to a peer-reviewed journal that discusses the impacts of climate change to Australia’s ecosystems and the vulnerability of local communities:
. During your interview you discussed how individual citizens can make a difference to fight the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere and consequently, in the oceans. I would like to add that temperature itself is a contributing factor to the depletion of coral reefs because warmer water holds less oxygen, which creates an environment unsuitable for algae and coral. Since warmer temperatures are a result of CO2 increase, I am very appreciative of your conversation about changing human behaviour.

People can get involved in more intense ways as well. Public participation is key to effectively managing a scarce resource. First of all, I would like to bring up the fact about how much shellfish Americans consume and relate that to fishing practices. This means that fisherman need to pay close attention to the fish populations and dynamics as they are harvesting. Locals tend to be more informed than outside researchers. Policy changes might be necessary if as many species are suffering as you discussed. In this case, the local fisherman should be involved in any decision making in order to provide insight on the matter, to ensure livelihoods are maintained while preventing exploitative fishing practice and to develop the best way to protect marine life. Secondly, I find it important for public participation to involve ‘citizen science’. Local residents near the coastal regions recognize the changes of the environment and experience them first hand, thus they can develop a lot of valuable knowledge.

Citizens can participate in restoring the reef by joining in programs such as ReachOut. This group develops artificial coral pods that stimulate growth of new coral. Volunteer scuba divers deliver these pods beneath the ocean surface. This activity promotes sustainable livelihoods for the local communities by restoring the aquatic ecosystem. These people work very closely with the local community because they understand how valuable they are for the sustainable development of the ecosystem. You can learn more about this initiative at the following link: https://rovolunteers.com/Volunteer-Cambodia-Scuba-Diving-and-Community-I...

Hey Leo,

I really enjoyed reading your podcast. I think the approach you took by looking at a specific aspect of ocean acidification is a perfect approach to this issue. Unfortunately I think a lot of people try to address this problem by discussing in very little detail all of the affects specific issues cause. For some listeners or readers this is often way to much information and does not make for a strong argument. One aspect of the podcast I think could use a little work may be the beginning. I think if you laid out a more general definition of ocean acidification it may make the rest of the podcast easier to follow along. I know myself in some instances may miss these basic ideas in podcasts when presenter or hosts do not put them in simplest of terms. In addition to my past point you may also want to look into framing the issue slightly two different ways. Although you did discuss that this is not just an issue for people who enjoy seafood i think you should further discuss the real world implications of ocean acidification as it is a world issue. You may also not want to suggest that the damage has been done and can not be reversed, instead be more optimistic. My reason behind this is if people fall under the assumption that damage has been done that cannot be undone it becomes easy to think of it as someone else's problem.

Hey Leo,

I really enjoyed reading your podcast. I think the approach you took by looking at a specific aspect of ocean acidification is a perfect approach to this issue. Unfortunately I think a lot of people try to address this problem by discussing in very little detail all of the affects specific issues cause. For some listeners or readers this is often way to much information and does not make for a strong argument. One aspect of the podcast I think could use a little work may be the beginning. I think if you laid out a more general definition of ocean acidification it may make the rest of the podcast easier to follow along. I know myself in some instances may miss these basic ideas in podcasts when presenter or hosts do not put them in simplest of terms. In addition to my past point you may also want to look into framing the issue slightly two different ways. Although you did discuss that this is not just an issue for people who enjoy seafood i think you should further discuss the real world implications of ocean acidification as it is a world issue. You may also not want to suggest that the damage has been done and can not be reversed, instead be more optimistic. My reason behind this is if people fall under the assumption that damage has been done that cannot be undone it becomes easy to think of it as someone else's problem.

Hi Leo,

I think that you have produced a really good past! I am aware Ocean Acidification is a really important topic but have never studied it any level of detail before and therefore was drawn to reading your pod cast to find out more information. Like others I liked how you set out the podcast in the form of a conservation as it made it easy to read ,as it kept me engaged with the conversation but at the same time was informative. It was particularly interesting for me to read about the relationship between shellfish not being able to develop their shells due to the rise in acidity. It actually made me feel quite sad for the shell fish and hit home some of the damaging impacts this is having to creatures who directly depend on the health of the system. Your podcast encouraged me to look at further research surrounding this issue and the actions that are now being taken on a global level. Therefore I think that this this is a really thought provoking pod cast. Given your target audience i think perhaps it may have been strengthened by reference directly to different areas where this damage is particularly visible such as the great barrier just to provide some specific examples- though obviously it is a global issue. Other then that well done on your post!

Hi Leo!

First of all, your podcast was extremely engaging and I especially liked how you incorporated humor into your transcript to lighten the mood while still conveying the seriousness of the issue to your audience. I think it is a really effective way to grasp the attention of listeners (or readers) who may not have as much background knowledge on the topic. Throughout your podcast you asked several questions that led to informative and inspiring answers that would motivate a general member of the public to get involved.

In your transcript you asked how we could help our oceans, which was answered with solutions mostly centered on reducing our carbon footprint on an individual level. I whole heatedly agree with this form of action and the personal solutions suggested in your transcript. However, raising awareness for larger scale solutions, like those proposed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), would be a great addition to future podcasts on the topic. I think by talking about how our world's leaders are coming together for the same cause, you can increase support from the public for initiatives like this, and in turn support the success of mitigating climate change!

Check out this article addressing how oceans will be considered moving forward with the agreement!

Hi there,
Great radio podcast! Although this issue is very serious, you were able to make your podcast quite amusing and interesting. Being able to keep your subject light and amusing is key to engage an audience, no matter how serious the issue. A large importance with ocean acidification is that people are educated on the issue. This is why it is so important to have podcasts and media releases to keep people informed. The more people are informed, the more they will understand the issues around the world. In this way, we can hope that once people understand issues they will be more interested in helping to resolve the issues. No matter how small, every contribution to reduce our impact on the oceans will help, whether it be riding a bike to work or buying locally grown food etc. Thanks for choosing this subject and for helping to spread awareness on Ocean Acidification!.

Hey Leo,

I think your post brings to light the several issues the oceans are currently facing due to human activity. I think your post really highlights the uncertainties behind ocean acidification and climate change as a general issue.
Although we might believe we have a certain understanding of the consequential effects ocean acidification could have on the ecology under the sea, I believe that we are still operating in an element of uncertainty. As you pointed out, fish populations and coral are all connected in a large network. This means that any impact towards them could have an ultimate impact elsewhere such as, as you mentioned, on the predators of these fish. There could also be several socio-economic impacts such as declining tourism if reefs should die and loss of jobs for fisherman should fish populations begin to suffer. I believe that this interconnectedness makes us operate in the realm of uncertainty as the behaviour and consequences of the changes applied to this system are still unknown. The issue of ocean acidification is one of complexity, interconnectedness between social and environmental problems all while undergoing constant changes. One of the main issues with this is that we do not have the time to step back and try and understand the science since decisions need to be made today in order to help prevent future damage.

Hey Leo,
I really enjoyed your radio transcript on ocean acidification, it had all the important information and each topic flowed nicely into the next. I enjoyed that you used humour to try and engage the audience on the seriousness of the issue. Perhaps something you could have talked about is how many people around the world rely on the oceans for not just their food, but also their income. The collapse of fisheries can have huge consequences on the economy of a region. Perhaps tying it into the economy would be something that could make listeners think twice the next time they do a fossil fuel intensive activity, or vote, as the economy is something everyone wants to improve. I also thought that by just saying that the oceans will heal themselves with time and that we just need to take a step back, might make listeners put it at the back of their mind and may never think of it again as there is not much they can do. Perhaps there would be a better call to action? I'm not exactly sure what that would be either, because ocean acidification is a huge problem and there is no quick fix, just time like you and Harriet already mentioned. Its unfortunate that we as humans have a tendency to not want to deal with issues that are not an immediate threat or one in the not too distant future.
Great job, it was informative!

Hello Leo,
I decided to read and comment on your blog post because I feel that ocean acidification is a relatively unknown climate change phenomena, that I personally have little experience with. I think you did a good job of contacting and securing an expert in this field for your podcast. I also think you effectively took the expert's knowledge of ocean acidification, and applied it to how it can affect your listeners on an everyday basis. After reading your blog post I began to research ocean acidification, and was surprised to learn that many of the long term effects are relatively unknown. One piece of advice I have for you is to do a little more research on the topic of your podcast before you meet with the expert. For example, while many effects are largely unknown, there is research on ocean pH changes during past periods of high atmospheric CO2. My only recommendation may be to look at this type of long, geologic timescale research when you are reporting on climate issues. I say this because we must be careful to consider and contrast past changes in our climate history if we want to make claims that will be taken seriously by climate change doubters who claim "this is the normal cycle". Overall, you did a great job and if you're interested here is a link to the kind of research I was talking about, check out section 4.6 "Lessons from the Geologic Past" https://www.nap.edu/read/12904/chapter/6#78.

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