Ocean acidification research in Estonia: challenges and opportunities

Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the atmosphere are causing a decrease in the average surface global ocean pH, also known as ocean acidification. Our understanding of the global impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems is growing rapidly. In the Baltic Sea area, however, the vast majority of studies have so far focused on the effects of eutrophication on marine ecosystems. Less is known about the changing carbon chemistry due to increasing CO2 concentrations in seawater, which could influence Baltic Sea marine ecosystems. The present study focuses on Estonian waters, located in the northeastern part of the Baltic Sea. The aim of this article is to summarize the existing knowledge on ocean acidification research in Estonia as well as to highlight the opportunities and challenges for future research. One key challenge is that the present national marine monitoring of carbonate chemistry in Estonia is not following best practices. The lack of proper seawater carbonate chemistry data in the study area is strongly limiting the ability to design relevant biological experiments and forecast future changes. So far, the effect of ocean acidification on marine biota in the Estonian coastal waters is mostly unexplored. However, several sensors for measurements of carbonate chemistry variables as well as laboratory facilities for conducting ocean acidification experiments are now available.

Pajusalu L., Dupont S., Lainela S. & Martin G., 2019. Ocean acidification research in Estonia: challenges and opportunities. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences 68 (1): 22–31. Article.

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