Workshop on best practices for ocean acidification research planned

The need for standardized protocols and reporting of data has been highlighted at numerous ocean acidification workshops over the past few years. Common methods are crucial if we are to identify differences (or lack thereof) in calcification among various taxa, regions, and over time. It is also imperative that data be reported in a manner that will be comprehensible and accessible to scientists several decades from now if changes are to be detected. Specifically, the international research community needs to establish agreed protocols for calcification rate measurements and mesocosm / perturbation experiments, as well as for protocols for data reporting.

At its kick-off meeting from 10-13 June, the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) agreed to merge several standards and protocol activities into a single activity, and the IOCCP agreed to work with EPOCA to develop an international workshop on standards for ocean acidification research and data reporting. The advisory group includes Ulf Riebesell (IfM-GEOMAR, Germany), Deborah Iglesias-Rodriguez (NOC, UK), Richard Bellerby (Uni Bergen, Norway), Kitack Lee (Pohang Uni, Korea), Victoria Fabry (California State Uni., USA), Dick Feely (PMEL, NOAA, USA), and Jean-Pierre Gattuso
(CNRS-UPMC, France).

The meeting will be held tentatively at the end of November at IfM-GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany in order to meet EPOCA deliverable dates. The workshop will produce short technical reports for each major topic covered (e.g., perturbation experiments, calcification experiments, etc.), as well as a Guide to Best Practices for Ocean Acidification Research and Data Reporting. Participants at the kick-off meeting pointed out that many experimental aspects of ocean acidification research are still in the development stages and it may be too early to set agreed standards or protocols for many things. It is also clear that one workshop under tight deadlines may not be sufficient to produce a comprehensive Guide. However, participants noted that research is moving forward rapidly and a dialogue about protocols and standards must begin now. There are already many aspects of carbon chemistry applicable to acidification research that have been thoroughly documented in the Guide to Best Practices for Oceanic CO2 Measurement, and application of these protocols to acidification research would greatly improve the current situation. In the end, the first version of the Guide will most likely end up being a mixture of standards, guidelines, and, most critically, reporting and documentation requirements, so that individual experiments are fully comprehensible and reproducible. To ensure full community participation and input, drafts of the Guide will be made available on-line for open community review period before publishing.

For more information: visit the EPOCA web site or contact Maria Hood, Project Coordinator, the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP).

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