A major CO2 perturbation experiment in the Arctic Ocean by EPOCA

Jean-Pierre Gattuso, gattuso@obs-vlfr.fr, Oceanographic laboratory of Villefranche (LOV), France
Lina Hansson, hansson@obs-vlfr.fr, Oceanographic laboratory of Villefranche (LOV), France

EPOCA Project Office
Web: http://epoca-project.eu

EPOCA is now mid-way, with the first two years of the project completed. We provide here a concise update on its recent activities and products.

Research activities
EPOCA research activities cover the chemical, biological, ecological and biogeochemical consequences of ocean acidification. These activities are too numerous to be listed here. One of the key experiments involved a group of 35 researchers who have just performed the first major CO2 perturbation experiment in the Arctic Ocean. With the goal to determine the response of Arctic marine life to the rapid changes in ocean chemistry, nine mesocosms were deployed in the Kongsfjord off the north-western coast of Spitsbergen (Svalbard; Photo). Each of the giant, 17 m long ‘test tubes’ held about 50m3 of seawater. The enclosed plankton community was exposed to a range of different CO2 levels expected to develop between now and the middle of the next century and was closely monitored over a 6-week period. The experiment involved molecular and cell biologists, marine ecologists and biogeochemists, as well as ocean and atmospheric chemists. More information is available on a dedicated blog.

More than 70 peer-reviewed publications were published in the first 2 years. One of the key publications is the “Guide to best practices for ocean acidification research and data reporting”, a joint product of the European Commission, OCB, SCOR, IOC-UNESCO and the Kiel Excellence Cluster). It can be downloaded for free on the project web site (http://www.epoca-project.eu/index.php/Home/Guide-to-OA-Research/). Printed copies are available from the Project Office.

Upcoming meeting
EPOCA will hold its second annual meeting jointly with the German project BIOACID and the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme in Bremerhaven, 27-30 September 2010. It will be a unique opportunity to consolidate European research on ocean acidification. Members of the three projects are welcome to register via the EPOCA Project Office (no registration fee).

Outreach and dissemination
– “Ocean acidification – the facts” was launched during a press conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

– A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on ocean acidification was published jointly by the Ocean and Carbon Biogeochemistry (OCB) program, EPOCA and the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme. It is available in English, French, German and Chinese and is available for free at http://www.epoca-project.eu/index.php/FAQ.html

IMBER Update, Issue 15, September 2010. Article.

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