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CHEMISTRY IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT

Chemistry in the Marine Environment

 
 Author(s)                

R. E. Hester, R. M. Harrison
 Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
 Date 2000
 Pages 112
 Format pdf
 Size 1.2 Mb


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   The oceans cover over 70% of our planet's surface. Their physical, chemical and biological properties form the basis of the essential controls that facilitate life on Earth. Current concerns such as global climate change, pollution of the world's oceans, declining fish stocks, and the recovery of inorganic and organic chemicals and pharmaceuticals from the oceans call for greater knowledge of this complex medium. This volume brings together a number of experts in marine science and technology to provide a wide-ranging examination of some issues of major environmental impact. The first article, by William Miller of the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, provides an introduction to the topic and an overview of some of the key aspects and issues. Chemical oceanographic processes are controlled by three principal concepts: the high ionic strength of seawater, the presence of a complex mixture of organic compounds, and the sheer size of the oceans. The organic chemistry of the oceans, for example, although involving very low concentrations, influences the distribution of other trace compounds and impacts on climate control via feedback mechanisms involving primary production and gas exchange with the atmosphere. The great depth and expanse of the oceans involve spatial gradients and the establishment of distinctive zones wherein a diversity of marine organisms are sensitive to remarkably small changes in their chemical surroundings. The impact of human activities on marine biodiversity is of growing concern.

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