West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel

A Shared Challenge and Opportunity

Ocean acidification and hypoxia, two phenomena often coupled due to biological and oceanographic processes, are leading to concerns among government agencies and the public along the West Coast about the potential threats to marine ecosystems. These issues are shared challenges among the region and require cooperation across academic and political landscapes.

At the nexus of this challenge is the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel, an interdisciplinary collaboration of 20 esteemed scientists representing California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. The Panel’s core goal is to collaborate with decision makers across the state, regional and federal levels on these complex issues. The Panel established a series of working groups to summarize knowledge for action on key themes identified by decision makers.

Advancing Science Informed Decision-Making

The Panel was convened in 2013 by the California Ocean Science Trust at the request of the California Ocean Protection Council. With expertise in integrating science with management and decision-making, Ocean Science Trust, in collaboration with the Institute for Natural Resources in Oregon, is serving as the link between the science panel and government decision-makers.


The California Ocean Protection Council, a cabinet level body chaired by Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird, formally charged the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisor under the leadership of the California Ocean Science Trust, with convening an Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel at its September 13, 2012 public meeting. Subsequently, the governments of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia joined California, in recognition of the value of a coast-wide effort. The timing for this effort is particularly opportune – the State of Washington Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification final report (2012) documented the current state of scientific knowledge and recommend actions to respond to increasing ocean acidification in Washington’s local waters. The knowledge base established in Washington provides a robust foundation for the work of the Panel to address these issues at a coast-wide scale.

Building Political Momentum on the West Coast

The West Coast Governors’ Alliance on Ocean Health is pursuing ocean acidification as a priority ocean and coastal health issue and vowed to employ the regional ocean observing system to help address it.
As part of the  Pacific Coast Collaborative, the leaders of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia recently signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, identifying ocean acidification as a priority ocean health issue. Building on this,  the Pacific Coast Collaborative also cited the work of the Panel in a letter to President Obama and Prime Minister Harper calling for greater regional and cross-border efforts to address this critical issue with enhanced federal support.
Given the academic and political momentum, now is the time for experts to come together and generate synthetic, cross-discipline products that address decision makers’ priority knowledge needs that inhibit action on these complex issues.

More information.




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OA-ICC Highlights