The need for understanding the potential adverse impacts of a slowly acidifying sea upon marine ecosystems is widely recognized and included as a priority objective in the new National Ocean Policy. The effects of ocean acidification could significantly affect strategies for developing practices towards the sustainability of ocean resources. Basic research concerning the nature, extent and impact of ocean acidification on oceanic environments in the past, present and future is required. Research challenges include:
- Understanding the geochemistry and biogeochemistry of ocean acidification;
- Understanding how ocean acidification interacts with biological, chemical and physical processes at the organismal level, and how such interactions impact the structure and function of ecosystems, e.g. through life histories, food webs, biogeochemical cycling, and interactions with other changes in the ocean (e.g., temperature, stratification, circulation patterns); and
- Understanding how the earth system history informs our understanding of the effects of ocean acidification on the present day and future ocean.
NSF.gov, August 2012. More information.