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Optimizing acidification observations in a changing ocean

There are hundreds if not thousands of eyes on our changing ocean at any moment: Buoys, gliders, saildrones and ships measure carbonate chemistry and new ocean observing technologies are continually being created to monitor ocean acidification. As science and technology progress it is important to ensure that the most up to date knowledge is applied to the task at hand. NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) is teaming up with the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) to fund four projects aimed at improving the observing system design for characterizing ocean acidification. This work will evaluate the capability of existing observations to characterize the magnitude and extent of acidification and explore alternative regional ocean acidification observing approaches. Ultimately this work will minimize errors in measurements, better integrate existing observations, and minimize costs of monitoring ocean acidification.

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Webinar recording available online: Communities of Ocean Action on Ocean Acidification, 12 June 2019

The Community of Ocean Action on Ocean Acidification held its third webinar on 12 June 2019. Dr Libby Jewett, Director of NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program and previous co-chair of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, GOA-ON, (VC16542) made a presentation on GOA-ON status, progress and lessons learned.

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Community of Ocean Action on Ocean Acidification (COA on OA) videos online

The Community of Ocean Action on Ocean Acidification, led by David Osborn, IAEA Environment Laboratories and Bronte Tilbrook, CSIRO, Australia, and co-chair of GOA-ON, aims to support its members in implementing their ocean acidification-related Voluntary Commitments (VC) by exchanging progress reports, experiences, lessons learned and good practices. There are presently 258 Voluntary Commitments submitted for Sustainable Development Goal 14.3 on ocean acidification. These VCs cover a range of topics including mitigation, capacity building, policy, monitoring, among others.

The COA on OA has held two webinars, highlighting specific VCs and facilitating discussions among members of this community. A recording of the most recent webinar can be found here, and a video presentation by David Osborn providing an overview on this COA can be found here.

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Four ocean acidification bills take big bipartisan step toward becoming law

Today, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Environment Subcommittee will hold a markup of four bills addressing the impacts of ocean acidification. A markup is an opportunity for all members of a congressional committee to review legislation and “mark” it up with their own thoughts and changes. Here at Ocean Conservancy, we are excited to see these bills take this important step. This legislation has enjoyed broad bipartisan support, and today’s markup will show how leaders on both sides of the aisle recognize the importance of preparing their communities for the impacts of ocean acidification.

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Crabby but crabtivating: hermit crabs and ocean acidification


Searching through the intertidal at Tower Beach at low tide. Photo Credit: Kelly Borkowski.

Walking along Tower Beach, you might not realize how many different invertebrates are right below your feet. Giant isopods, small-but-mighty barnacles, common shore crabs, blue mussels, and periwinkle snails.

You pick up what you think is an unsuspecting periwinkle snail, but when you turn the shell over, you find a small bristly claw instead of a slimy muscular foot. You just found a hairy hermit crab!

Otherwise known as Pagurus hirsutiusculus, these hermit crabs are found in intertidal ecosystems from California to Alaska. Fluctuations in conditions, incredible competition and intense predation are just some of the challenges they see on a daily basis in the intertidal zone. It already sounds like these guys have it pretty bad, but there’s more…

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New ocean monitoring indicators: ocean acidification (video)

Ocean Monitoring Indicators (OMIs) are free downloadable trends and data sets covering the past quarter of a century. These are key variables used to track the vital health signs of the ocean and changes in line with climate change. Knowing how much heat is stored in the ocean, the pH of the ocean, how fast the sea levels are rising and sea ice is melting, is essential to understanding the current state and changes in the ocean and climate. This information is critical for assessing and confronting oceanic and atmospheric changes associated with global warming and they can be used by scientists, decision-makers, environmental agencies, the general public, and in measuring our responses to environmental directives. The OMIs expand the Copernicus Marine Service portfolio to provide not only ocean data products but also key reference information on the state of the ocean.

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You better repeat it: serial ocean acidification experiments on fish early life stages

To detect potential effects of acidification on marine organisms, experimenters most commonly use within-experiment replication, but repeating the experiments themselves is rarely done. While the first approach suffices to detect major CO2 effects, other potentially important responses may get detected and robustly quantified only via serial experimentation. A study by Baumann et al. in Biology Letters comprises a meta-analysis of 20 standard CO2 exposure experiments conducted over six years on Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia) offspring.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book