At sea with the UKOA: investigating the effects of rising ocean acidity

Over the past few years, the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA) has been carrying out a range of experiments, observations and modelling studies within seven consortia projects, aimed at reducing uncertainties in predictions of changes in carbonate chemistry and their effects on marine biogeochemistry, ecosystems and other components of the Earth System, and understanding the responses to ocean acidification by marine organisms, biodiversity and ecosystems (see http://www.oceanacidification.org.uk/). Over the past  10 years of ocean acidification research, the focus has been on experimentation and laboratory studies, but there has been a growing need to monitor and understand the natural carbonate chemistry across different oceanic regions, and the current state and functioning of marine organisms and their ecosystems. The UKOA addressed this need by providing the opportunity to carry out four research cruises, three as part of the UKOA Sea Surface Consortium, and one as part of the UKOA Benthic Consortium. Between them, these cruises encompassed regions of vulnerability (Arctic waters and the Southern Ocean), of coastal importance (the European shelf seas), and of biological vulnerability (cold-water coral reefs). The following four articles describe the work carried out on each of the research cruises, as well as the excitements and challenges, and some preliminary findings The cruises made use of the full suite of research vessels within the NERC fleet – the RRS Discovery, the RRS James Cook and the RRS James Clark Ross.

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Findlay H., in press.  At sea with the UKOA: investigating the effects of rising ocean acidity. Ocean Challenge. Article.

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