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Physical sciences/Earth sciences/Oceanography/Ocean chemistry/Ocean pH


Penguins, leopard seals, giant squids, 50-foot algae, sea spiders, coral, multicolored sea stars -- a world of extraordinary wildlife lives in the bitter cold of Antarctica, a place virtually uninhabitable for humans. But as global temperatures rise, this fragile ecosystem is under attack. The Adelie penguin has been nearly wiped out, king crabs which used to populate the deep seafloor are moving into shallower waters, desrupting the life there.

In AAAS member Jim McClintock's new book Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land, the the University of Alabama-Birmingham marine biologist takes readers with him on an extraordinary field trip to the bottom of the world. He documents how climate change and ocean acidification are impacting the marine mammals and other sea creatures that inhabit the polar waters.

Listen as McClintock reads sections from his new book.

View photos from McClintock's trips to Antarctica.

Thousands of samples collected from around the world will help scientists learn more about how plankton potentially influence food webs and climate change.

Scientists, educators, journalists, and others from some 50 nations are gathering in Vancouver, British Columbia, from 16-20 February for the 178th AAAS Annual Meeting. The locale is significant: The 2012 meeting is focused on the vital link between innovation and international collaboration. And Vancouver is a Pacific Rim research capital, making an impact in life sciences, marine science, public health, science education, and other areas. The AAAS Office of Public Programs is providing extensive Annual Meeting news, plus a sampling of coverage from around the world.

For years, researcher Scott Doney has been tracking an alarming rise in ocean acidity and its effects on marine life such as clams and lobsters. So when he wanted to bring more attention to the links between pollution and acidification, he spoke with shellfish harvesters and seafood wholesalers whose livelihoods depend on healthy waters.

Restaurateurs are next on his list, said Doney. But to engage these diverse audiences, the senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution knows he must adjust his arguments and the language he uses to convey his concern.

Two marine scientists speaking at a AAAS panel discussion warned that humans and marine life will be forced to adapt to climate change’s effects on oceans already left vulnerable by over-fishing and pollution.

While mitigation efforts reducing greenhouse gas emissions are important, the speakers stressed that the world has already committed itself to decades of climate change, some of which is already underway.

An inquiry into mysterious elk deaths in Wyoming, a profile of a largely unknown black chemist who was a pioneer in the synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants, and a look at the merits of telling children they are smart are among the winners of the 2007 AAAS Science Journalism Awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.