Ocean Acidification: Insights for estuaries and nearshore waters can help coastal economies prepare for change

A scientific presentation sponsored jointly by COMPASS (Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea) and the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board

WHEN: Monday, June 13 @ 12:00 p.m (Lunch provided)
WHERE: Rayburn B-338

Dr. Joan Kleypas, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
Dr. Denise Breitburg, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD
Dr. Sarah Cooley, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA

Coordinated in conjunction with the Co-Chairs of the House Oceans Caucus

A confluence of recent science and policy activity on ocean acidification offers an opportunity for renewed assessment of the issue. Past Congressional and agency activities are now coming to fruition — the release last month of an interagency task force report, the selection of a lead for the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, the first meeting of researchers funded pursuant to the 2009 FOARAM Act (Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring), a booklet from the National Academies, and the publication of a Policy Forum in Science magazine. Taken together, these activities and publications suggest emerging strategies for addressing not only global but hard- hitting local, coastal impacts of ocean acidification in state waters.

Caused by increasing levels of CO2 in the ocean, acidification threatens a range of marine organisms and their ecosystems, including commercially valuable species such as shellfish and corals. Originally considered more of an “open ocean” problem, scientists now find that acidification could have especially severe impacts on nearshore environments, risking billions of dollars in lost product and income. In coastal areas, unlike in the open ocean, CO2 can come from both land and air, amplifying acidification in focal hotspots where land and water meet. But by understanding the multiple drivers of acidification in the coastal zone, states can position themselves to combat the deleterious effects of ocean acidification — at least for the short term.

This briefing will explore the sources and implications of decreasing pH in the coastal zone. Leading scientists present findings on how stressors like acidification pose a growing threat to valuable resources and explore the options for communities to address acidification’s local sources and impacts. Scientists will introduce the concept of a “pH budget” to help clarify existing policy options.

• Dr. Joan Kleypas, a committee member on a recent study on ocean acidification by the National Research Council, will set the stage on the emerging science of ocean acidification and present an overview of how Congress has helped to shape the trajectory for scientific research.
• Dr. Denise Breitburg will discuss the significance of stressors such as low oxygen and low pH for marine food webs, including a case study from the Chesapeake Bay.
• Dr. Sarah Cooley will then present economic implications, adaptation strategies that may exist from the policy perspective, as well as an approach for predicting the vulnerability of coastal economies to impending increases in the pH stress originating from atmospheric sources.

Please join us for presentations and discussions with speakers on this timely and dynamic topic.

RSVP to events@compassonline.org, or contact egoldman@compassonline.org for more information.

Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea web site
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