Ocean acidification: ecological impacts and societal implications (session at the meeting “Planet under pressure”, 26-29 March 2012, London)

Session Information

Day 1: State of the Planet • Theme: Meeting Global Needs

Ocean acidification: Ecological impacts and societal implications

Dr Phil Williamson, NERC/Univ of East Anglia, UK; Dr Carol Turley, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK; Dr Sarah Cooley, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA; Dr Richard Feeley, NOAA, USA; Dr Nafees Meah, UK Dept of Energy & Climate Change, UK

Session content:
Ocean acidification is a direct and unavoidable consequence of increased carbon dioxide emissions. As CO2 in the atmosphere rises, more dissolves in surface seawater, reducing its pH and causing other changes in ocean chemistry. The session will focus on the following issues: 1). Ocean acidification consequences for organisms. What are the main effects of decreasing pH and changes in carbonate chemistry on physiological processes? Which species and groups are the most sensitive – and the most resilient? 2). Ocean acidification consequences for ecosystems. How will effects on species be naturally integrated at the community and ecosystem level, for seafloor habitats, the water column and coastal systems? 3). Ocean acidification consequences for socio-economic systems. What are the potential implications for human use of marine resources, both directly (e.g. impacts on shellfish and aquaculture) and indirectly, through ecosystem services (e.g. climate regulation, and role of coral reefs in coastal protection)? 4). Ocean acidification consequences for policy. Should ocean acidification be considered as inextricably linked with climate change, or as a separate problem? How can knowledge of ocean acidification impacts contribute to the emerging debate on climate geoengineering?

There is rapidly growing research attention to the above topic areas, with major programmes underway at the national and regional scale. This session will cover the latest global research findings, from experimental studies, field surveys, modelling and policy dialogue, whilst also providing the opportunity for public debate.

http://www.planetunderpressure2012.net, 6 July 2011. Web site.

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