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What does water and electricity mean to you?

 

When you think of water and electricity, the first thought that comes to your mind is may be one of danger, high voltage, maybe even death!  Or perhaps if you are interested in sustainable energy you may think of thought of underwater turbines, wave generated electricity and maybe for a small selection of you, you might have even thought about biolayers creating electricity at the mouths of rivers.  For those who knew thought biolayers….we’re impressed. Good knowledge!

In movies, unfortunate incidents have been shown involving dropping hair dryers in the bath.  Indeed myth busters from discover.com tested whether electric appliance in the bath would actually kill you…

In their robust scientific experiment a bath dummy was rigged up to an amperage meter to measure the amount of current running through it.  They investigated the risk of death when household items that may fall in the bath due to unforeseen circumstances such as a television, a radio and a hairdryer.  The experiment protocol stipulated that at 6 milliamps of jolts, the dummy would be pronounced dead.

Following analysing their results with great scrutiny they concluded that “the radio, television and hair dryer without a ground fault interrupter all electrocuted the drenched dummy, confirming the household appliance myth.”  Thankfully for those who perhaps like to watch tv or listen to the radio in the bath, many modern devices have a ground fault interrupter! Or if you really want to play it safe and avoid all risk of electrocuting yourself in the bath you could you go upmarket and get a snazzy screen inbuilt to your premium bath tub….

Anyway, we digress! What we really want to tell you about is a group of young Dutch scientists who are on a quest to make harnessing electricity from “blue energy” as they call it the next big thing!

They plan to capture the osmotic pressure that results from salt water mixing with fresh water at the mouths of rivers and generate it into electricity using all sorts of weird and wonderful techniques…

“If blue energy plants were to be placed at all river estuaries, it has been calculated that they could generate as much as 7% of our global energy demand.”  claim the scientists.  They also claim,  “blue energy  to be potentially one of the best sustainable energy resources in the world. Therefore, additional research is required to improve efficiency, sustainability and reduce costs of blue energy generation.”

At the moment, the cost of blue energy is still relatively high, however this dream team hope to reduce the cost by creating a robust biolayer that can remain intact even with the high voltage generated from the osmotic pressure from the salt water mixing with fresh.  And, with a biolayer made from bacillus subtilise, which has a reputation amongst scientific communities for forming particularly well formed biolayers there surely could be a good chance of creating a robust biolayer with the scientists experimental protocol…(if you don’t know what a biolayer is we explain it here)

The team at Groningen are doing their experiments not only to advance research in the field of blue energy but also to win a synthetic biology competition called iGEM which will be hosted in Boston. At the competiton scientists from all over the world enter their experiments and the Groningen team want to win (I mean who doesn’t).  Their experiments are not only exciting from a much needed sustainable energy research perspective, by supporting their research you will be supporting a wide team of scientists from computer scientists, biologists, mathematicians, designers who are all having the opportunity to work together on this exciting project. We at Walacea are pretty excited by this research as rarely in academia do you see such an eclectic mix of skills all working on the same thing.  This dynamic team are surely destined for great things! Yes, some of their experiments may fail but with the broad range of skills and ideas they must have in their midst we are routing for them and we love their mission!!

Find out more about blue energy and sign up for cool perks on their excellent campaign page! 

 

Crowdfunding Science – An Opinion Piece

This is a guest post by Dominic Stephen, a supporter of research on Walacea

Society’s fundamental building blocks – its politics; its finance; its science – are migrating rapidly from being managed across the surface of the earth to the invisible ‘interweb’ floating above it. Should scientists utilise these new building blocks to crowdfund their work?

Wallacea is the group of islands where Alfred Russel Wallace discovered evolution.   Wallace funded his work through crowdfunding (without the internet) in 1858. Wallace inspires us.

Wallacea is the group of islands where Alfred Russel Wallace discovered evolution. Wallace funded his work through crowdfunding (without the internet) in 1858. Wallace inspires us.

Global connectivity seems only ever to be growing; now, anyone with a media device and internet connection can share content at a negligible cost that could reach millions of people. The internet’s recent wave of crowdfunding campaigns presents scientists with a new funding opportunity that means that they no longer have to appeal to society’s leaders for grants and green lights. They can instead share their idea via crowdfunding science platforms such as Walacea, and strive to appeal to the wishes – and wallets – of their global online community.

Through crowdfunding, multiple small and large donations contribute to a collective new pool of cash for scientific research that is adding to the money that is already available to research through government and charity grants.  In this way, crowdfunding science can liberate scientists from having to conform with funding bodies, universities and publishing hours.

A new funding path for young scientists?

Famous experiments in the past have been lead by scientists of all ages, Wallace for example started working on evolution independently in his twenties. Yet today due to the hierarchy and reducing pool of governmental grants, the future of exciting scientific discovery has seemed to grow ever more inaccessible and competitive. In general, principle investigators responsible for experiments with big budgets will have spent many years climbing the academic ladder in order to have the opportunity to lead their own experiments.

The bodies issuing grants are terrified of awarding them to the wrong people so it is far easier to award grants to senior professors rather than an up and coming possible genius whose ideas may seem a bit far fetched but could also be groundbreaking. However, through crowdfunding science, young potential geniuses can ask the crowd for support and bypass the whole bureaucratic process.  They can build a network of supporters, share their passion and take the public on their journey of discovery and possibly leap frog the long slow slog up the academic ladder. Thereby instead of painstakingly waiting for their seniors to retire or be offered better positions elsewhere they can simply skip the queue and fund their work independently.

 

Crowdfunding research for some, is potentially a very appealing alternative to the conventional path for funding. Researchers who on paper don’t suit the government bodies or who don’t have the patience or will to complete grant forms after grant forms that are 20 pages long then wait six months for them to be approved or declined can choose this strategy instead. It’s fast, requires a completely different skill set in reaching funding goals and can actually be quite fun.

A Potential for Viral Outreach and Global Democracy

Walacea  is excited by the financial and democratic potential that can be unlocked via the web. By combining the viral potential of social networks with a process of scientific screening, experiment proposals can enjoy widespread publicity and validation from the crowd. And it’s faster, too – where most science grant requests usually take anywhere upward of six months of bureaucratic processing to be evaluated, crowdfunding platforms sidestep these time-consuming demands. The funding of Walacea’s World’s First Brain Imaging Study of LSD, for example, was achieved in less than two months, after raising more than double it’s initial target and actually reaching its target in just two days! In addition, the campaign video had 493,000 views which is pretty outstanding in terms of scientific outreach!

Crowdfunding science, not only can help leverage more money into science, it will help people see the personalities of scientists, what drives them and this could lead to more role models.  There are constant complaints about not enough women going in to STEM and that there aren’t enough female scientist role models.  Crowdfunding science can change this by helping us not only learn about the science but also the passionate people who conduct it.

Crowdfunding science role model

Could crowdfunding science help create more role models who are scientists? Robin Carhart-Harris, is definitely growing a bit of a fan club. How many more scientists are there out there who the public can admire. Our guess is quite a few!!!

Crowdfunding science gives the public the opportunity to help with the big decisions that selective governmental and educational institutions often have to make about what gets funded; it taps into the Internet’s shared social networks, which are more organic, up-to-date and flexible, rather than stratified and isolated hierarchies. This ultimately allows citizens to become stewards of the science that changes our world.

It can stop scientists going round in circles with funding…

In addition, Walacea can help break the vicious cycle of scientists having to defend their grant requests with previous experiments, themselves requiring grants.  So many funding bodies want to see pilots or opinion surveys before they can apply for large grants creating barrier after barrier which is both frustrating and demoralising. Just last week we had a discussion with a brain surgeon who is interested in doing an opinion survey on a new technique for treating alzheimers.   It is quite radical and he wants to ask other health care professionals and patients if they think it is a good idea before applying for a grant but this will cost around £5k and he is considering crowdfunding this rather than applying for a small grant.

Perhaps most importantly, by allowing science to be moulded and directed by the decisions of a democratic public, its appeal is changed dramatically – each generous backer is involved directly in a creative scientific process that they would have otherwise been excluded from; they learn about the science they are supporting, and help see the project evolve and come to fruition. From a subject that used to be seen as occurring exclusively behind the closed doors of a sterile laboratory, crowdfunding is helping to transform science into something engaging, accessible, relevant and very real.

Crowdfunding Science is still in infancy

Still relatively young, however, crowdfunding science is not without its criticisms and challenges: some worry that in gaining public appeal the proposed experiments may suffer a reduction in quality, being less subject to the rigorous screening of a team of experts; also, ‘sexier’ campaigns may overshadow less publically appealing yet more valuable ones, and the general public may be vulnerable to coercion through exotic-looking ‘buzz’ words and fancy science jargon. However, it is arguable that any science – if valid – is good science, and if crowdfunding science can help generate large public interest in science and create new role models, then the net will widen, gradually giving an equal chance of success to more numerous and diverse campaigns in the near future.

If you want to see science become more democratic through crowdfunding science we urge you to browse campaigns on Walacea, give us some feedback about what you would like to see and perhaps make a pledge and see if you enjoy the journey of discovery!

If you are a scientists and would like to give crowdfunding your research a whirl, drop us a line! info@walacea.com

 

Should the Medical Marijauna Industry follow big pharma in their quest for data?

Having spent five years working in the pharmaceutical industry in a ‘science behind the sales’ role I have a pretty good understanding of how clinical data can help sell drugs. The marketeers would eagerly wait for newly published studies that show our drug to work better than the competitors and this new data would go straight into the sales materials. The sales force would then go out with these new glossy materials that explain with clinical data how wonderful the drug they are selling is and this helps them exceed their sales targets and they get rewarded appropriately. This all makes sense but should the medical marijuana industry travel this data path too? Well, if they want to increase sales and and grow their market the answer is yes.

States where medical marijauna is legal

The medical marijauna industry, that has been made legal in 23 US states with many more pending, will inevitably work differently to big pharma, however some basic rules of marketing will still apply. Marijuana, which they are selling is not patented so they do not need to keep churning out trial after trial showing a competitive advantage over other medical marijuana sellers as currently they are all in the same boat, however, they would benefit from clinical data to show how well their drug works as medication so become real players in the healthcare industry and not just a ‘hippy’ sideline activity.

There have been quite a few studies that show the benefits of marijuana in MS, cancer, anxiety etc. but the breadth and depth of the data is very much in its infancy. Taking cannabis and cancer as an example, the state of the data at the moment shows promise for cancer therapy but so far, only the low hanging fruit has been harvested, what if we took medical cannabis research to new heights?

There have been studies in animals showing that cannabinoids shrink tumours and there are a lot of stories on the internet from people claiming cannabis has either cured their cancer or at least helped them prolong their life. This data will be enough for some newly diagnosed patients with open minds; however, others may be sceptical and not bother with this kind of treatment due to the stigma and lack of data and is it worth the medical cannabis industry shutting out these potential customers?

To put it somewhat bluntly, in the US, the market size of newly diagnosed cancer patients is 1.6 million. Currently the recommended dose of cannabis for treating cancer is 1g per day, 1g may cost approx. $50.  So lets do some calculations, $50 multiplied by 365 days multiplied by 1.6 million patients means a market size of a whopping $26 billion. And that is just looking at new cases, not the survivors who are still fighting cancer, sometimes claimed to be with cannabis. David Hibbit, is one patient who claims this to be the case and here is his story.

With non-conclusive data many people will stick with traditional routes of treating cancer such as dreaded chemotherapy which often makes the last stage of people lives an absolute misery, It leads to hair loss, extreme exhaustion and often doesn’t even work. If cannabis works and there is data to prove it, this is very big business and not only that, it has the potential to help lots of small emerging businesses benefit that are just starting up in response to the new drug policy reform.

Medical Marijuana shop owner

Currently, these little start up shops have huge untapped potential to compete against big pharma in the cancer industry. And lets face it, although big pharma has big budgets, the competition in terms of the effectiveness of the product that they are selling could be described as pretty weak. Lots of people are dying and living in fear of their cancer returning, people even live in fear of getting cancer as in so many cases it is a death sentence. Yet, despite their drugs often not working the size of the industry is claimed to be $100 billion in the US. The point is the competition is surprisingly quite weak and ripe for disruption.

In my opinion we could be at the start of a new era for scientific research, with the power of the crowd it is possible to fund research independently meaning that small business rather than big businesses can benefit from trials.  Pharmaceutical companies run expensive trials to demonstrate the effectiveness of their drugs on their own, yet the medical cannabis industry can run expensive trials in collaboration with lots of small businesses to demonstrate the effectiveness of their drug.  On Walacea we are crowdfunding a clinical trial testing the effectiveness of cannabis in treating 40 brain cancer patients.  This trial already has £150k behind it from the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour who have raised this money through sponsorship of an epic 420km bike ride.  They are working with Walacea to fund the final part of the clinical trial so it can start this year.

The scientists in Madrid only need another £60k to fund this first study and everything is in place, the ethical approval is in place, six hospitals are confirmed, even GEINO, the main neuro-oncology body in Spain are behind the project.  So the question is, will this thriving new industry take note and pool their resources together to fund this important study that has the potential to save lives, disrupt big pharma, help their industry and add democracy to science through this new method of funding? Walacea certainly hopes so.  We are envisaging this being the first of many studies that we help coordinate the crowdfunding of to help the medical marijuana industry flourish with strong data to back up their medication so the medical cannabis industry becomes a key player in healthcare while simultaneously helping small young businesses.

Cannabis and cancer research lab

We have introduced a new perk into the campaign to service this new potential market for Walacea, this is a sales aid for medical marijuana.  It will follow the stringent rules of the pharmaceutical industry showing the clinical data, how it stacks up against drugs available on the market and with this first step we hope we can pave the way to make medical marijuana, as we said earlier a key player in the healthcare industry.  This industry is also exciting because the profits from the drug will be shared amongst small businesses and people will benefit from a taking a natural drug with thousands of years of safety testing that can literally be grown in their back gardens. And if they don’t want to grow it, they can pop down to their local medical marijuana shop and buy their medication knowing that the profits are likely to remain in their own community.

Cannabis types that are bespoke for specific health issues

 

 

Open your Mind

 By Simon Hazelwood-Smith, MSc student in Science & Technology Policy at the University of Sussex. Tweets as @simonthazelwood

It’s high time to re-evaluate laws and attitudes to psychedelic drug research. There is a gigantic, hulking elephant in the UK policy room. Attempts to curb and reduce recreational drug use through strict criminalisation laws have failed. Vulnerable people are sent to jail, take substances of unknown quality and origin and support an often hyper-violent, caustic and predatory global underground drug trade. More than this, the ranking of severity of punishments for drug related crimes defies logic and evidence, pandering to fear and misinformation. These arguments are familiar tropes in the popular media, yet decriminalisation remains a taboo topic. And although there are a few encouraging voices beginning to make themselves heard, UK policy continues to be frustratingly stubborn to reform.

There is another, perhaps less obvious consequence of the UK’s attitude to drugs: it is incredibly difficult to conduct research to investigate precisely how psychedelic drugs affects the body and brain. Researchers hoping to study these effects will invariably meet twin barriers of excessively cautious funding bodies and prohibitively restrictive licensing and procurement regulations. Although there is massive potential for these drugs to be used medicinally, the fear of damaged reputation by both scientists and research councils is significant.

In spite of this there are still some who are attempting to probe this potential to combat mental illnesses; and with good reason, a recent publication showed depression to be more costly to human productivity than any other condition, mental or otherwise. Professor David Nutt of UCL is one such scientist, who has for many years been a champion of the value in researching drugs traditionally used for recreational purposes.

It is a great shame that research in this area is so restricted; the Human Brain is one of the most intriguing and mysterious objects in science, yet researchers have only scratched the surface of its complexities. By studying the way psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) and ketamine affect the brain in controlled settings, there is a good chance that some of the mysteries of the fundamentals of consciousness may be revealed. This in turn could pave the way for new mental health interventions.

Research into psychedelic drugs as medicinal therapies, in particular to combat mental illnesses such as depression shows great promise. In recent years research into ketamine’s uses as an antidepressant have been a revelation with symptoms being lifted in a matter of hours in some cases. It is hoped that research into the properties of LSD may prove as fruitful, yet the difficulties of studying this drug are magnified significantly. Where ketamine is a class B drug, LSD is class A and schedule 1, making it more dangerous in the eyes of the law and more difficult to obtain for research than heroin. The upshot of this is that just 4 laboratories in the UK have a licence to work with the drug, stymieing progress hugely.

The scientific crowd-funding concept as is being developed by Walacea.com has tremendous potential to be positively disruptive in science funding. The UK is placing ever more emphasis on ensuring that research has impact outside of academia. What better way to demonstrate public interest and support for a project, than through crowd-funding in which the public choose those projects that they feel are needed.

The world is in great need of a re-think in its approaches towards the regulation of drugs. The possibility of appropriating these drugs as treatments is tantalising, but will be far easier if restrictions are relaxed. With a little luck, projects like Prof Nutt’s Walacea study will be a red flag to government that the UK demands change.

Resources:

http://www.nature.com/news/rave-drug-holds-promise-for-treating-depression-fast-1.16664

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/dr-robin-carhartharris-is-the-first-scientist-in-over-40-years-to-test-lsd-on-humans–and-youre-next-9667532.html

http://www.nature.com/news/mental-health-a-world-of-depression-1.16318

 

 

 

 

What an AMAZING Day!!!

We would like to raise a toast to our wonderful supporters of the first ever LSD brain imaging study!!

For all of you who have been following, supporting, sharing, and tweeting about our recent LSD research launch alongside the Beckley Foundation, we raise a glass to you.

At the end of an unbelievably fast day, we are proud to announce that you all have already raised over 60% of all the funds that will cover…gratuitous drum roll…the final stage of the world’s first ever fMRI and MEG scan on the effects of LSD! Can we mention once again, that we are talking about the span of one day?

Sure, there have been many monumental scientific firsts that have mired public fascination. However, few have achieved more than half of all their funding in one day…by the public…by means of social media and the press.

Here’s to exploring the mystery of the brain. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported the team so far!! With an extra special thank you to the many news outlets who propelled the work of Professor David Nutt, Amanda Feilding, and Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris into the curious, craving, internet eye!  Thank you all so much, we truly are touched by the response.

B_VSzCRWkAEOrfr.png-large

Make some noise: Thunderclap edition

Earlier this week, we sent out a social media post [link Thunderclap] so that we could boost a wild social media signal to raise awareness for our drone project. We definitely have the best community ever with over 100 people supporting the project.

With the help of the Walacea science community, we were able to reach just over 60,000 people on various networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr), and that is just 60,000 more possibilities to connect with people who feel the same way about conservation and deforestation. It is just icing on the cake if those people also find this leopard cat from our scientists in Borneo ridiculously cute and want to chip in a bit of money to help us understand more about its habitat and survival skills.

Leopard Cat

In other exciting news this week, our scientist friend Emma Stone is currently in Malawi studying the migration of African Wild Dogs, and we got to shoot some footage of her telling us about her work. Be prepared to encounter a super cute dog you did not even know existed!

One of our upcoming projects revolves around researching the strip of land between Malawi and Zambia to figure out how Wild Dogs are surviving, even though they are endangered. Emma Stone is just our gal for the job, and we couldn’t be more excited to add her project to the Walacea pipeline.

Last week, we signaled a Twitter Warzone, and we can definitely say, it’s been a good week for scientific innovation. For example, in the past week, we ran across: how deforestation helped spread Ebola, how clean energy can be the future of the world by 2050, and how scientists are looking at a pulsar brighter than 10,000,000 suns. It’s been one busy week for science, and we are still pushing for more innovation to come!

 

 

 

Innovation: Can we crowdfund ‘Sexy’ Science?

Sexy Science!

So we think this is a good time for some teasers of what’s to come. We were particularly inspired by the Paris auto show this past week, which exhibited some ultra special cars that run on…oh you know, air. Say What!!!?

The idea behind the engineering comes from the French manufacturers Peugot. In a sci-fi twist, they replaced fuel with compressed air. The product is a magical hybrid car that is almost as cool as the DeLorean (though let’s be honest, the air powered car has yet to master time travel). All this inspiration has got our brain juices flowing for our queued projects, so, let us just paint a little teaser…

Cosmic Ray Detectors…

In our pipeline we have a cosmic ray detectors project measuring the cosmos from far and wide. The detectors will help us demystify what cosmic rays are, how they influence weather as well as seismic activity and who knows what else.  And, one of the most exciting parts is the research will be completed not by experienced professors in their labs at prestigious universities but at schools by A-level and GCSE students!! Who said you need a degree certificate to conduct meaningful research, certainly not us or Wallace for that matter!!

How LSD works in the brain!

We will be raising money for the world’s first images of the brain on LSD using fMRI and MEG. This is exciting stuff…more soon!

And Brain Plasticity

Prof Bruce Hood is interested in how the plasticity of the brain varies between adulthood and childhood…

This is all the tip of the iceberg, my friends! And if you thought Walacea was solely based on conservation, we’ve got one giant news flash, right now, right here on this blog, to tell you that we’re always looking for new ideas! Our realm of crowdfunding science finds its roots in all sorts of scientific inspiration. From humanitarian to technological to biological, we are certain that the best ideas start from the ground. Even better yet, because our crowd funding community can be anybody, you all are our foremost knowledge-hungry watering hole. And we want to join in on this watering hole of knowledge. So let’s move onto another bright idea shall we?

Our challenge, or rather, interactive game, this week is going to be a twitter warzone. Our plan is this: we want you to hashtag in #Walacea to shoot any science related questions, links, fun trivia facts, photos, etc. at us, and we’ll start bridging together our community. From every small idea to big revelation, we’re ready to be there right with you.

 

Join our thunderclap to protect the rainforest

Hey guys,

On the 14th of October, we are trying to make some noise for one of our research project that would like to use drones to track rainforest mammals in Borneo following deforestation in a bid to create more robust data to lobby the governments who are legally chopping down the forest. They want to track all kinds of amazing mammals from urangutans and slow lorises to clouded leopards and civet cats. This will be the first time this kind of data has been recorded at the same time as legal deforestation. It’s also pretty cool to track rainforest mammals from the sky and should lead to some interesting footage.

We’re using Thunderclap, which enables people to donate a tweet and/or Facebook post to the cause but we need your help to reach 100 supporters or our message disappears into the ether. The posts are then launched at the same moment on the 14th October.

Get on board here, it is quick and easy: http://thndr.it/1udkhBL

Thank you for your support! And please feel free to send this around and get more people involved!

Natalie

 

The dirt, the smudge, the low down on Palm Oil and Drones

You might have noticed this week (hello, grand launch!) that we have advocated what could be the most epic tracking project in the world. And all right, we’re not the international space station, but we can definitely say that we are all for promoting a healthy global eye on the Earth. So, let’s dive right in on how drones, endangered species, and Borneo are all related to palm oil.

Believe it or not, palm oil is not a cosmetic necessity for some scaly hands. It IS however the ultimate cash crop for plantations in Malaysia Borneo. What do we use palm oil for? Excellent question! Palm oil is most commonly found as a substitute for trans fat in processed foods. In fact, it commonly gets written down in ingredients as a type of vegetable oil. Now, that doesn’t sound too bad with some sugar coating. However, the damage extends much further than your belly. Palm oil is the most ecologically destructive oil to harvest. And we mention this destruction in order to seamlessly transition into what Borneo and endangered species have got to do with palm oil.

Borneo is a tropical lush home for not only palm trees but also furry endangered animals (we’re looking at our orang-utans especially). With the lucrative business of harvesting palm oil rising, thousands upon thousands of animals are pushed out of their homes. We’ve seen campaigns everywhere that advocate for the halt of such destructive harvesting, but we would like to one-up the ante. Cue, dramatic introduction to drones.

DRONES. So, hear us out on the friendly use of drones. Pretty frequently in the news, they have a terrible reputation as a strong arm of war, but we’re harnessing the technology for good, to save some of our dear endangered friends. We’re using the drones to drop knowledge, not bombs. To track, not attack. And finally, to save, not destroy Borneo. There is so little research on what happens AFTER deforestation, that we’re going to need all hands, or should I say, eyes, on deck to help out our scientists track the ousted species in Malaysia.

Here is the campaign video!

 

 

 

The evil twin of climate change: Ocean Acidification

So, ocean acidification. That term seems like a title card of a movie sequence right before a documentary on the BP oil spill, so we’ll spare you the Google search. If you’re thinking that this sounds like the ocean is becoming more acidic, you’re pretty much in the ballpark…just a bit (and by a bit, we mean, a lot).

The ocean ends up absorbing the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere- and that includes the CO2 that we land-dwellers give off. When carbon dioxide ends up in bodies of water, there is a chemical process to compensate for the acidity and lo and behold, our waters tend to become more acidic. Now, if we were to end the story there, perhaps it would just send you a little mental note to avoid some acidic water before hitting the beach. However, we’re thinking of something murkier…dirtier…more endangered than just us.

Molluscs. So, it turns out that our shelled clams, oysters, and mussels really suffer as a by-product of ocean acidity. In fact, our mollusc-y (and let’s admit it, tasty) friends are naturally inhibited to form shells because of lower pH levels. But wait- it doesn’t end there. While losing shells can be a problem in your local bay or coastline, it’s also a problem around the world. California, New Zealand, Spain, the Mediterranean, the UK, and many more all report empty patches of once lively mollusc breeding ground. The ultra scientific term for this is “slough-off” so that’s what we’re going to refer it as. Slough-off around the world’s coastlines is alarming, but it’s not just the molluscs we are working to care for. It’s the fish that are exposed to behavioural changes, it’s the harmful algae that gain toxins like a bad superpower, and it’s the loss of food security. To us, ocean acidification seems to be largely unreported, but that’s what we’re about.

Here is the crowd funding video for one of our scientists who wants to find out what is going on underwater in the UK and how it is affecting some of our most loved species, at least food wise…we’re talking mussels, crabs and lobsters!!

 

 

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