Ocean acidification session at the 22nd Biennial Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF 2013)

6 November 2013: “Acidification impacts on estuaries”

Plenary Session
Richard A. Feeley Ph.D., NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Sam Dupont Ph.D., University of Gothenburg
Alan Barton, Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery
Jay Manning J.D., Cascadia Law Group

Convened by: Jan Newton (newton(at)ocean.washington.edu), Libby Jewett (libby.jewett(at)noaa.gov), and 
Karen McLaughlin (karenm(at)sccwrp.org)

This symposium will have plenary speakers set the stage of the science, economic impacts, and management responses of ocean acidification in estuaries. The plenary will be followed up by special sessions that will include both invited and contributed talks. The symposium will also include a workshop led by the Alliance of Coastal Technologies on making acidification measurements, and on sensor technologies. This symposium will offer new insights relating to ocean acidification as the focus is on acidification in estuaries and in other freshwater-influenced waters, rather than on the open sea. Moreover, it will highlight an increasingly recognized topic, and one that is of increasing urgency, as witnessed by the attention given to the Washington State Governor who established a Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification in Washington’s coastal and inland waters.

Special Sessions

SCI-014 Drivers and Consequences of Near-shore Ocean Acidification
Convened by: George Waldbusser (waldbuss(at)coas.oregonstate.edu)

The focus of this session will be on examining different drivers and patterns of ocean acidification in near-shore environments and the possible consequences to different levels of biological organization. Within these near-shore habitats drivers such as upwelling/overturn, eutrophication, and watershed alteration will interact with increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide in complex ways with possibly complex outcomes for biological responses. Submissions are encouraged that utilize case studies of different systems or address links between temporal variability in near-shore carbonate chemistry and biological responses.

SCI-015 Acidification and Hypoxia in Estuaries
Convened by: Tawnya Peterson (petersont(at)ebs.ogi.edu)

Acidification and hypoxia, often in combination, are increasingly threatening the health of aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Estuaries, which receive inputs from freshwater and marine systems, are particularly vulnerable to the presence of multiple stressors. Understanding and predicting how estuarine ecosystems respond to acidification or hypoxia involves identifying and characterizing processes that mitigate or exacerbate these conditions, including the phenology of algal blooms and variations in water chemistry (e.g. dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity) associated with oceanic versus river inputs to estuarine waters. In this session, we seek contributions that focus on the relative roles of marine and freshwater processes and their interactions in driving or mitigating estuarine acidification or hypoxia. Regional contrasts and comparisons between different estuary types are welcome. We are particularly interested in studies that link key processes to estuarine ecosystem structure or biogeochemical function through observations or models and that include a management perspective.

SCI-016 How Sure Are We that Hatchery Success is Affected by Acidification?
Convened by: Burke Hales (bhales(at)coas.oregonstate.edu)

The shellfish industry has increasingly been observing shellfish recruitment failures and severe larval mortalities in hatcheries and the wild over the past decade. Numerous stressors have been implicated as contributing to these events including ocean acidification, hypoxia, toxins, and outbreaks of disease. Untangling the individual and combined effects of these stressors will be critical to establishing resiliency of coastal shellfish communities. This session will examine the degree to which hatchery success can be attributed to ocean acidification as opposed to other potential stressors.

SCI-017 Quality Assurance Procedures for Carbon Measurements: What is Needed to Ensure Data
Comparability Among Researchers?
Convened by: Andrew Dickson (adickson(at)ucsd.edu)

Ocean acidification refers to the reduction in seawater pH associated with the global oceanic uptake of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, pH itself is not the biological parameter of concern, rather it is the disruption of the carbonate equilibrium that causes biological response. The unifying parameter describing changes in carbonate chemistry is aragonite saturation state (Ω), a measure of how easy it is for organisms to form shells or other structures. There are four key parameters that can be measured to calculate saturation state: alkalinity, total carbon, pCO2, and pH. Two of the four are required to constrain the carbonate system. There are several protocols that exist for measurement of each of these parameters, but data quality varies widely among them. Ensuring data quality and comparability among researchers producing these measurements is critical for industry, managers, and policy makers who ultimately use this data for decision-making. This session will focus on strategies to develop quality assurance protocols that allow for appropriate estimation of aragonite saturation state in such a way that it is most useful to address management and policy questions regarding ocean acidification.

SCI-018 Improving the Linkage Between Carbon Chemistry and Biological Monitoring Systems Convened by: Gretchen Hofmann (hofmann(at)lifesci.ucsb.edu)

In the coastal environment, numerous stressors are present that affect ecological communities in addition to ocean acidification. In order to untangle the effects of different stressors, not only is it important to document the relationship between changes in ocean chemistry and changes in in situ biological communities, but it is also important to conduct laboratory exposure studies to determine if the changes observed in the environment correspond to the effects observed under controlled laboratory conditions. These efforts are currently hampered by a decoupling of carbon chemistry data from biological effects data. Most biological data is spatially located inshore (e.g. hatcheries and estuaries), whereas most physical and chemical measurements are located offshore at moorings and ship-based sampling events. This session will examine strategies for better linking carbon chemistry monitoring with biological effects datasets. These linkages can happen in two ways: 1) through better connecting field chemistry and biological monitoring efforts and 2) using field measurements to inform laboratory studies.

SCI-019 Extending Acidification Modeling from the Ocean to Estuaries
Convened by: Samantha Siedlecki (siedlesa(at)uw.edu)

In the open ocean, decades of monitoring have culminated it the development of numerous ocean models that can predict changes in ocean chemistry and related ecosystem changes due to rising atmospheric CO2. However, extending these models to the near-shore and estuarine environments is complicated by numerous stressors that can exacerbate the effects of ocean acidification in coastal waters (e.g., freshwater input, tidal forcing and stratified waters, nutrient over-enrichment and eutrophication, hypoxia), all of which must be incorporated into coastal models. This session will explore ways that acidification modeling can be extended to near shore environments and obstacles to developing causal and predictive models at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

SCI-020 Data Sharing and Visualization for Acidification Observing Networks
Convened by: Emilio Mayorga (mayorga(at)apl.washington.edu)

Information and data products on ocean acidification and its implications on ecosystem health are needed to inform policy and the public. Ocean acidification is occurring at a global scale but can be exacerbated by local processes; therefore local measurements and observations must be linked to larger regional and global data sets in order to accurately understand ocean acidification and its drivers and predict future ecosystem changes. This requires integration of local data into a shared data management platform. This data can then be input into models and other data visualization tools to understand the drivers and effects of changing ocean conditions at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. These tools can be utilized by industry, policy makers, and regional managers to develop strategies to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification and develop strategies to adapt to expected changes whenever possible. This session will examine existing data sharing platforms and visualization tools and strategies for developing a template for development of larger scale observing networks.

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