The Great Barrier Reef: our oceans are in danger | Photo: Toby Hudson/Creative Commons

The World Surf League (WSL) has announced an investment of $1.5 million in Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory's ocean science program.

The research project named WSL Pure combines corporate social responsibility, an education program, and five areas of research: coral bleaching, ocean acidification, sea level rise, ocean health and ecosystems, oceans and climate.

“Our oceans and climate are changing faster than our ability to keep pace. WSL Pure allows us to accelerate the urgent science we need to understand how these changes will impact things people care about most - our access to food, water, shelter, and energy," underlines Peter deMenocal, an oceanographer, and director of the Center for Climate and Life at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

WSL Pure comes in a time when funding for ocean research is falling, but old problems remain, and recent data reveals new concerns: coral reefs face severe bleaching, ocean temperature is rising, ocean's acidity increased about 30 percent in recent decades, phytoplankton and the marine food chain are threatened.

"By creating a generation of 'surfer-scientists,' we aspire to create a voice for the oceans and to empower our global fan base and partners to become better informed about the issues plaguing the oceans, while providing educational opportunities so that we can develop real-world solutions," added Paul Speaker, CEO at World Surf League.

Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will also offer classes in ocean sciences for students at all levels, with the majority of the funding from tuition to be reinvested in ocean research projects.

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