Guide to best practices for ocean acidification and data reporting now available online

Ocean acidification is an undisputed fact. The ocean presently takes up one-fourth of the carbon CO2 emitted to the atmosphere from human activities. As this CO2 dissolves in the surface ocean, it reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid, increasing ocean acidity and shifting the partitioning of inorganic carbon species towards increased CO2 and dissolved inorganic carbon, and decreased concentration of carbonate ion.

While our understanding of the possible consequences of ocean acidification is still rudimentary, both the scientific community and the society at large are increasingly concerned about the possible risks associated with ocean acidification for marine organisms and ecosystems. As this new and pressing field of marine research gains momentum, many in our community, including representatives of coordinated research projects, international scientific organisations, funding agencies, and scientists in this field felt the need to provide guidelines and standards for ocean acidification research.

To initiate this process, the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) and the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) jointly invited over 40 leading scientists active in ocean acidification research to a meeting at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) in Kiel, Germany on 19-21 November 2008. At the meeting, which was sponsored by EPOCA, IOC, the Scientific Council on Oceanic Research (SCOR), the U.S. Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Project (OCB) and the Kiel Excellence Cluster “The Future Ocean”, the basic structure and contents of the guide was agreed upon and an outline was drafted. In the following months, the workshop participants and additional invited experts prepared draft manuscripts for each of the sections, which were subsequently reviewed by independent experts and revised according to their recommendations. Starting 15 May 2009, the guide was made publicly available for an open community review.

The final version of the guide is now published:

Riebesell U., Fabry V. J., Hansson L. & Gattuso J.-P. (Eds.), 2010. Guide to best practices for ocean acidification research and data reporting, 260 p. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

It is available free of charge on the EPOCA web site ( It is envisioned to revisit and possibly revise the guide to accommodate new developments in the field in a few years time.

We are very grateful to all colleagues who have committed their precious time to the preparation of this guide as section editors, lead and contributing authors, and reviewers.

Please contact Lina Hansson ( at the EPOCA project office to obtain printed copies of the guide, which will be available shortly.

On behalf of the writing team,
Ulf Riebesell, Victoria J. Fabry, Lina Hansson and Jean-Pierre Gattuso (co-editors)

Please note that EPOCA web site is not optimal using Internet Explorer 6, but works fine with later versions and all other internet browsers.

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