Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) systems: present status and future developments

Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) systems are designed to assess the impact of ocean acidification on biological communities in situ for extended periods of time (weeks to months). They overcome some of the drawbacks of laboratory experiments and of field observations by enabling (1) precise control of CO2 enrichment by monitoring pH as an offset of ambient pH, (2) consideration of indirect effects such as those mediated through inter-specific relationships and food-webs, and (3) relatively long experiments with intact communities. Bringing perturbation experiments from the laboratory to the field is however extremely challenging. The goal of this paper is to provide guidelines on the general design, engineering, and sensors required to conduct FOCE experiments. Present and existing FOCE systems are briefly described and examples of data collected presented. Future developments are also addressed as it is anticipated that the next generation of FOCE systems will include, in addition to pH, options for oxygen and/or temperature control. FOCE systems should become an important experimental approach for projecting the future response of marine ecosystems to environmental change.


Gattuso J.-P., Kirkwood W., Barry J.P., Cox E., Gazeau F., Hansson L., Hendriks I., Kline D. I., Mahacek P., Martin S., McElhany P., Peltzer E. T., Reeve J., Roberts D., Saderne V., Tait K., Widdicombe S. & Brewer P. G., 2014. Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) systems: present status and future developments. Biogeosciences Discussions 11:4001-4046. Article.


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