An Updated Synthesis of the Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Biodiversity, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

OA Flyer CBD COP12The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has been working on the elaboration of a systematic review document on the impacts of ocean acidification on biodiversity and ecosystem functions. An updated synthesis has been prepared with the support of a group of international experts and is now available online. The report was launched today within the framework of the 12th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.

“This report, CBD Technical Series No. 75, “An updated synthesis of the impacts of ocean acidification on marine biodiversity”, represents an enormous scientific effort by researchers and experts from around the world to synthesize the best available and most up-to-date information on the impacts of changing ocean pH on the health of the world’s oceans.

Among other findings, the report notes that ocean acidification has increased by around 26% since pre-industrial times and that, based on historical evidence, recovery from such changes in ocean pH can take many thousands of years. The report outlines how ocean acidification impacts the physiology, sensory systems and behavior of marine organisms, and undermines ecosystem health. It, furthermore, shows that impacts due to ocean acidification are already underway in some areas and that future projected impacts could have drastic irreversible impacts on marine ecosystems.
Despite the growing body of information on ocean acidification, the report points out key knowledge gaps and, in light of the many complex interactions related to ocean chemistry, stresses the difficulty of assessing how future changes to ocean pH will affect marine ecosystems, food webs and ecosystems, and the goods and services they provide.

This report, which presents complex scientific information on ocean acidification in a clear and understandable way, provides an important reference point for scientists, policymakers and anyone else interested in understanding how ocean acidification affects our oceans and the vital services they provide. As the need for urgent action to address ocean acidification becomes ever more pressing, collaboration among governments and organizations in enhancing and sharing knowledge through efforts such as this report will become increasingly important.” (Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity)

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