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Friday, June 1 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
11. (Archaeological Conservation) Conservation in a Changing Climate: Examining the Effects of Ocean Acidification on Submerged Wooden Artifacts

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Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is not only one of the leading factors of global warming, but also one of the leading contributors to continuing ocean acidification. The historic average for ocean pH is 8.2, but since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, this has decreased to 8.1. It is projected to reach a pH of 7.6 by 2100 if current concentration trends continue. Much research has been done by biologists and nature conservationists to address the effects this acidification could have on sea life. However, little research has been conducted on the effects ocean acidification has and could increasingly have on the degradation of underwater archaeological sites and remains. This study examines the effects of increased acidification on the preservation of waterlogged wooden artifacts, by examining sample degradation using SEM after prolonged submergence in solutions of varying acidities. These solutions are prepared to match the pH levels of past, present, and projected oceanic conditions. The study focuses on the effects of increased ocean acidity on woods commonly used in historic ship construction, specifically oak, cedar, and pine. It also draws on published climate projections to identify areas where sites are most at risk of increased degradation due to ocean acidification.

avatar for Annabelle Fichtner

Annabelle Fichtner

Preprogram Student, University of Delaware, Undergraduate Program in Art Conservation

Friday June 1, 2018 3:30pm - 4:00pm MDT
Texas Ballroom (Foyer outside Ballrooms - Poster Session) Marriott Marquis Houston