Join Northern Michigan University undergraduate student and Michigan Sea Grant Environmental Intern, Madalyn Saddler, as she takes a deep dive into Great Lakes freshwater acidification, discussing what freshwater acidification is, its relevance to the Great Lakes ecosystem, and its implications. Madalyn will expand upon her role as a research intern working on the ongoing freshwater acidification monitoring project with partners Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (TBNMS), Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), and Michigan Sea Grant (MISG), as well as the ways in which community members can learn more about and become involved in climate change science in the sanctuary.
As our planet continues to warm due to anthropogenic activity, waterbody temperatures rise simultaneously. Accounting for nearly 70% of the Earth’s surface, both marine (salt) and freshwater bodies act as massive carbon sinks, absorbing atmospheric CO2, largely emitted by humans. Subsequent to this absorption, a series of chemical reactions occur, resulting in acidifying waters. Extensive studies on acidification in oceanic environments exist and lead scientists to believe that similar patterns will replicate in freshwater ecosystems.