PML scientist speaks at globally broadcast press briefing
At the recent 3rd Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World held in Monterey, USA, PML scientist Dr Steve Widdicombe took part in a press briefing, which included three other ocean acidifiation experts, in order to discuss how ocean acidification is affecting the world’s oceans, both now and in the future.
The press briefing was one of three held at the symposium, which brought together international experts to highlight ocean acidifcation as a joint challenge affecting our seas. Dr Widdicombe was joined on the panel by Prof. David Hutchins (University of Southern California), Dr Katharina Fabicius (Australian Institute of Marine Science) and Dr David Kline (Scripps Institution of Oceanography); each representing an area of oceanic impact as a result of acidification and warming.
Topics debated by the panel included changes in the ecosystem of coral reefs and harmful algal blooms. Dr Widdicombe, whose role in the debate was to discuss ecosystem change and resilience in terms of the seabed, highlighted the collaborative research being undertaken by the Benthic Acidification Consortium as part of the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA).
The aim of the Benthic Acidification Consortium is to quantify, predict and communicate the impact of ocean acidification on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in three key UK coastal habitats; soft sediments, calcareous biogenic habitats (such as cold water coral reefs and maerl beds) and the rocky intertidal zone. To do this, the consortium brings together 25 key researchers from 12 UK organisations, and uses laboratory experiments to determine the ways in which ocean acidification will change key physiological processes, organism behaviour, animal interactions, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
The understanding gained from the efforts of the consortium will be used to build and run conceptual, statistical and numerical models, which will forecast the impact of future ocean pH scenarios on the biodiversity and function of coastal ecosystems.
During the briefing Dr Widdicombe emphasised the complexity of the combined impacts from a range of stressors, calling for more, longer term experiments that mimic natural conditions. The need for continued dialogue between scientists, politicians, industry and the public was also a key message. Following this, members of the press and media were given the opportunity to question further.
You can view the video of the press briefing with Dr Steve Widdicombe here.
Plymouth Marine Laboratory, 17 October 2012. Article.