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Seeking creative solutions to ocean acidification

Paul Williams, Shellfish Management Policy Advisor for the Suquamish Tribe in Washington State, discusses the impacts of ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest and the challenges for future generations.

“About 10 years ago, I read that we’ve altered the fundamental chemistry of the ocean by making it more acidic. Shellfish have calcium in their shells and acid dissolves calcium. You could see the writing on the wall with some species and that was very, very scary, that realization.” Paul Williams, the Shellfish Management Policy Advisor for the Suquamish Tribe, has been tracking the impact of ocean acidification for years. Despite these alarming red flags, Paul says this realization did not discourage him and he continues to seek ways to mitigate the impacts of changing ocean chemistry. Ocean acidification represents an urgent concern to the Suquamish Tribe, because harvesting shellfish is a traditional practice of tribal members, a key source of income and a way for them to stay connected to their culture.

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Coral reefs and ocean acidification (video)

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute MarineGEO Postdoctoral Fellow Maggie Johnnson outlines her research studying the effects of ocean acidification on marine coral near Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Marine, Smithsonian Insider, 11 July 2018. Video.

Request for proposals: workshop host for ocean acidification science and policy training in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Ocean Acidification Monitoring and Mitigation project (OAMM) is a public-private partnership between TOF’s International Ocean Acidification Initiative (IOAI) and the U.S. Department of State. OAMM engages government, civil society, and private stakeholders on building capacity of scientists in the Pacific Islands and Latin America and the Caribbean to monitor, understand, and respond to ocean acidification. This is done through regional training workshops, development and delivery of affordable monitoring equipment, and provision of long-term mentorship. The scientific data produced from this initiative can ultimately be used to inform national coastal adaptation and mitigation strategies, while promoting international scientific collaboration through the development of regional monitoring networks.

Proposal Request Synopsis
The Ocean Foundation (TOF) is seeking a workshop host for a training on ocean acidification science and policy. Primary venue needs include a lecture hall that accommodates up to 100 people, additional meeting space, and a lab that can accommodate up to 30 people. The workshop will consist of two sessions that will span across two weeks and will occur in the Latin America and Caribbean region in the second half of January 2019. Proposals must be submitted no later than July 31st, 2018.

The Ocean Foundation, 5 July 2018. More information.

Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) hosts annual expert group meeting


The Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) hosted their annual expert group meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Environmental Laboratories in Monaco on 28 June. The goal of the technical meeting was to report and foster discussion on the coordination of OA-ICC activities within the past year as well as plans for the upcoming year.

Included in the 18 participants of this meeting were focal points for the OA-ICC capacity building initiatives, data management and outreach, collaboration between natural and social sciences, best practices in ocean acidification research, among other efforts. This year marks the 5th year of the OA-ICC, as well as the 10th SOLAS-IMBER OA working group meeting, whose participants are closely involved in OA-ICC activities and who all attended the OA-ICC Expert Group meeting in Monaco.


Protecting treaty trust resource for future generations

RAY fellow, Melia Paguirigan, sits down with Maggie Sanders, representative of the Nisqually Tribe of Western Washington, Ocean Acidification Alliance member and major ocean advocate.

As a RAY Marine Conservation Diversity Fellow, I help coordinate and grow the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification (OA Alliance), a coalition of leaders developing on-the-ground solutions for challenges facing our ocean. Most days, I’m on the phone at my desk in Washington, DC with people from all around the world discussing how to protect coastal communities from the impacts of ocean acidification. Today, however, I’m back in my rainy hometown of Olympia, Washington to meet an OA Alliance member in person and learn about why this work matters.

Continue reading ‘Protecting treaty trust resource for future generations’

Open for entries: combating the effects of ocean acidification

The problem
The oceans absorb approximately a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human activities. When dissolved in water, carbon dioxide (CO2) forms carbonic acid. As a result, in the last 150 years—since the beginning of the industrial revolution—the oceans have become 30% more acidic. This increasing acidity disrupts the carbonate system upon which almost all marine organisms are dependent, from the phytoplankton at the bottom of the food chain, which produce the majority of the planet’s oxygen, to the shellfish, coral, and even finfish that form marine food webs. While our ability to measure changes in ocean acidification has advanced rapidly, innovations to adapt and resolve the impacts remain woefully inadequate or non-existent.

The challenge
Develop technologies and innovations that strengthen resilience and help habitats adapt to the effects of ocean acidification, and mitigate its effects. These may include techniques as wide-ranging as harnessing synthetic biology or microbiology, manipulating ecosystem dynamics, utilizing selective breeding, or geo-engineering ecosystems to change local pH.

Continue reading ‘Open for entries: combating the effects of ocean acidification’

A changing ocean: decision-making in the face of multiplying ocean stressors

© Meredith Kurz

Let yourself dive into the hottest ocean science issues through the eyes of women that have dedicated their lives to oceanography, and who are currently sharing their latest scientific findings at the 4th International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans, ECCWO (Washington D.C., USA, 4-8 June) – a gathering of leading ocean and climate researchers from more than 50 countries.

Our interviewees offer us a warning about just how much is at stake when it comes to the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in a changing climate, but they also highlight how the scientific community can play a significant role in bridging the gap between knowledge and action.

Thanks to a growing body of science, exciting innovations and discoveries, we now have a greater understanding of our planet’s climate system – but how do we turn decision-relevant knowledge into concrete steps toward delivering the ocean we need for the future we want? We asked Meredith Kurz and Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Jewett from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (U.S.-NOAA) to explain why this is crucial to decision-makers and society at large.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book