New MBARI project: The Emerging Science of a High CO2 / Low pH Ocean

This project developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) proposes to tackle the problem of assessing the future impacts of elevated oceanic CO2 levels (lower pH) on marine ecosystems through a unique combination of field and laboratory studies, and to address the associated policy, economic, and permitting issues. This work will draw on MBARI’s exceptional engineering skills, the institutional investment in ships and vehicles, and the new presence of the MARS cable as a unique experimental resource. The inevitable association of higher CO2 levels with climate change and lower oxygen levels, and the cascade of ocean policy issues arising in the post-climate change world will bring additional complexity that only a team effort can address.

The project aims at developing systems and methods for small-scale perturbation experiments in the laboratory and at sea to expose marine animals to the conditions that will likely represent the ocean of the late 21st century, to communicate these findings to policy makers, and to make the systems and knowledge we create available to users world-wide. CO2 perturbation experiments for land eco-systems have long been carried out and have revealed important predictors and insights that will influence policy. No equivalent experiments have yet been carried out in the ocean.

For more information on the project, please visit MBARI website.


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