Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Objective 1

Understand the processes of ocean acidification and its consequences for marine organisms, ecosystems, and human communities.

As atmospheric CO2 continues to rise, ocean chemistry is fundamentally altered through the continual uptake of excess carbon. Changes include acidifying surface waters (i.e. reduced pH), enriching them in CO2, and making the waters less supersaturated with respect to carbonate minerals. Many marine ecosystems may be susceptible to ocean acidification, particularly organisms partly composed of calcium carbonate (a chalk-like mineral) such as foraminifera, clams, oysters, mussels and corals. Local processes can exacerbate global-scale ocean acidification such as coastal upwelling along the west-coast of the U.S. Here, acidified waters likely contributed to a recent crisis in larval supplies in the Northwest’s shellfish industry. Much research is needed before we can fully understand the broader impacts to marine life and human societies. Understanding acidification and predicting the consequences for marine resources and ecosystem services is critical to carbon mitigation discussions and to aid local communities in better preparing and adapting to ocean acidification.

R&D Targets:

  • Develop bio-economic models informed by targeted experimental studies to forecast ocean acidification impacts on federally managed and Alaska managed crab species
  • Conduct ocean acidification vulnerability assessment of California Current food webs and economics
  • Establish long-term high quality monitoring capabilities of ocean acidification and ecosystem response
  • Implement coupled biogeochemical and ecological coral reef ocean acidification status and trends diagnostic monitoring as a key attribute of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan within each U.S. coral reef jurisdictions
  • Provide scientific stewardship of comprehensive ocean acidification data