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Measuring Ocean Health -- XPRIZE Competition offers 2 million dollars for the most innovative tool

Kiara Vallier   |   September 16, 2013

Our world is 70% covered by water. With so much of our world covered with water and the minority by land, is it really possible that we are having a significantly negative impact on these massive bodies of water? Scientists have reported that the acidity in the atmosphere are at their highest in 800,000 years with CO2 level at 400 parts per million. Although, currently there is no way to accurately determine if the pH levels are the same for our waters. Unlike measuring our atmosphere the technology to measure all of the oceans is highly costly and cumbersome.

Even though there is no best way to determine the pH levels in our oceans, the effects can easily be seen. The increased acidification of the ocean is enough to kill young clams in the mudflats in Maine, and the shellfish farms in the Pacific Northwest have reported 70-80 percent loss in oyster larvae, as a result of acidifcation.

With the evidence piling up and our reefs and wildlife suffering a solution to accurately determine the ocean's chemistry is needed. Currently the public, corporations and fisheries are in the dark as to how the changing oceans are affecting them and how to adapt. On September 9th, XPRIZE announced they will be giving an extra boost to increase the research being done to find technologies that can determine the ocean's acidity. The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE will be awarding two 1 million dollar prizes to the innovators that can most accurately and most affordability measure the ocean's acidification.

This award is aimed to excite engineers and scientists to put their best effort to better understand our ocean's chemistry. This large incentive will create many technologies all that will help fisheries know if they are at risk and where new aquaculture facilities should be built based on the coastal acidification. Although, the effort to reduce our ocean's acidity and better understand it will take the effort of every citizen, government, corporations, scientists and engineers - the Wendy Schidt Ocean Health XPRIZE brings us a little closer to the world being aware of these negative effects and have the data to prove it.


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