Technology Development 

Monitoring Devices

Monitoring devices provide a hands-on tool for communities, industries and managers to adapt their practices when corrosive, or low pH, conditions occur.  The Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) is funding technology development on both the East and West coasts for monitoring devices which allow shellfish hatcheries and grow out operations to know when corrosive conditions are present so that they can adapt their methods. OAP required that these projects involve a private industry partner that could move the devices to commercial production. Complementing coastal monitoring, real-time data from offshore buoys now act as an early warning system for shellfish hatcheries, signaling the approach of cold, low pH seawater a day or two before it arrives in the sensitive coastal waters where young oyster larvae are produced. The data have enabled hatchery managers to schedule production when water quality is good and avoid wasting valuable energy and other resources when water quality is poor. Other adaptation approaches taken by hatcheries have included adding soda ash to low pH waters to raise it to levels shellfish can tolerate.

Biological Tools 

In some cases, natural marine ecosystems and species may already have ways to shelter neighboring habitats and organisms from ocean acidification by absorbing carbon dioxide from the seawater.  Scientists at multiple NOAA facilities are investigating kelp as one of these biological tools to draw down carbon dioxide from local waters.  OAP-funded scientists are studying kelp for this use in Puget Sound, where it can grow side by side with shellfish hatcheries to manage harmful effects of ocean acidification.  Similarly, OAP-funded scientists are also studying the beneficial effects of seagrass for local populations of corals, which is leading to the development of coral reef management strategies to protect seagrass beds.

Iron Fertilization

Iron fertilization is a controversial geoengineering approach suggested as a strategy to mitigate climate change. The approach entails adding iron to the oceans to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom, which would enhance the rate of carbon dioxide exchange from the atmosphere to the oceans. The effectiveness and feasibility of iron fertilization have been debated, but even if viable, this approach actually works directly counter to mitigating ocean acidification because it promotes the movement of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the ocean where it is the primary driver of ocean acidification. Research carried out by NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program has demonstrated that phytoplankton blooms actually generate low pH/high carbon dioxide conditions in the subsurface deep waters. This already commonly occurs in coastal waters in association with low oxygen conditions. So while iron fertilization may remain an area of interest as a potential climate mitigation strategy, it will exacerbate ocean acidification in coastal waters. 

Breeding Research

The United States Department of Agriculture and NOAA Sea Grant have supported research to develop oysters that are more resilient to ocean acidification. Through the Small Business Innovation Research program, NOAA has also funded work to identify and develop ocean acidification-resistent strains of red abalone.

 

STORIES OF ADAPTATION

Research shows ocean acidification is spreading rapidly in the Arctic

Research shows ocean acidification is spreading rapidly in the Arctic

NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

Ocean acidification is spreading rapidly in the western Arctic Ocean in both area and depth, potentially affecting shellfish, other marine species in the food web, and communities that depend on these resources, according to new research published in Nature Climate Change by NOAA, Chinese marine scientists and other partners.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Ocean Acidification: Building a Path Toward Adaptation in the Arctic

Ocean Acidification: Building a Path Toward Adaptation in the Arctic

NOAA Ocean Acidification Program

Scientists, economists, and stakeholders from all eight Arctic countries forge a path forward in adapting to ocean acidification in the Arctic

Arctic waters are rapidly changing. In the coming decades, these high-latitude waters will undergo significant shifts that could affect fish, shellfish, marine mammals, along with the livelihoods and well-being of communities dependent on these resources.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here

The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here

Rolling Stone

The impacts of ocean acidification on marine species may be occurring earlier than expected. Scientists from the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), Bill Peterson​, and NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), Dr. Simone Alin and Dr. Nina Bednarsek,​ are featured in an article by The Rolling Stone discussing the imminent threat of ocean acidification on marine species in the most vulnerable regions around the globe, such as the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Tags:
Arctic Ocean Acidification

Arctic Ocean Acidification

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme

The report by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program on Arctic Ocean Acidification was recently released and identifies the risks to Arctic ecosystems, including indigenous tribes and Arctic residents.

Sunday, December 1, 2013
Tags:
First evidence of ocean acidification affecting live marine creatures in the Southern Ocean

First evidence of ocean acidification affecting live marine creatures in the Southern Ocean

British Antarctic Survey

The shells of marine snails – known as pteropods – living in the seas around Antarctica are being dissolved by ocean acidification according to a new study published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.  These tiny animals are a valuable food source for fish and birds and play an important role in the oceanic carbon cycle*.

During a science cruise in 2008, researchers from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the University of East Anglia (UEA), in collaboration with colleagues from the US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), discovered severe dissolution of the shells of living pteropods in Southern Ocean waters.

Sunday, November 25, 2012
Tags:
RSS
12