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

MIT Sea Grant announces three newly funded projects studying ocean acidification

MIT Sea Grant announces three newly funded projects studying ocean acidification

MIT Sea Grant

MIT Sea Grant has selected three research projects for funding from our annual request for proposals. The projects focus on developing new ocean acidification sensor technology and using modeling techniques to consolidate historical data to inform future coastal ocean acidification monitoring.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Webinar: "Managing coastal acidification: The challenges and opportunities of using water quality criteria"

Northeast Coastal Acidification Network (NECAN)

NECAN is pleased to announce the inaugural webinar, of our second webinar series, presented by Dr. Aaron Strong on Tuesday, November 1 at 10:00 am ET.

As awareness of both the potential socioeconomic impacts of coastal acidification and its multiple drivers has increased, there has been increasing attention to the policy tools that are available to state environmental managers to address ocean and coastal acidification. One of those tools is the use of the Clean Water Act's provisions for setting water quality impairment criteria. This question has recently been brought to the forefront of coastal acidification management discussions as a result of a series of suits against the EPA urging the development of such criteria for coastal acidification. Conversations among scientists, agency representatives and managers on both coasts about how to do this are on going. Can water quality criteria focused on acidification be developed with our current knowledge, and, if so, what would they look like? This webinar explores these questions and discusses their potential application in the Northeast.

To register for this webinar, click here

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Natural Aquaculture: Can We  Save Oceans by Farming Them?

Natural Aquaculture: Can We Save Oceans by Farming Them?

Yale Environment 360

A small but growing number of entrepreneurs are creating sea-farming operations that cultivate shellfish together with kelp and seaweed, a combination they contend can restore ecosystems and mitigate the impacts of ocean acidification.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
BENEATH THE WAVES, CLIMATE CHANGE PUTS MARINE LIFE ON THE MOVE

BENEATH THE WAVES, CLIMATE CHANGE PUTS MARINE LIFE ON THE MOVE

The Connecticut Mirror

The Connecticut Mirror details the changes in marine species distributions in New England and what this could mean for the future of fisheries in the region.

Monday, September 5, 2016
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Surfing for science: Researchers are using Smartfin to study ocean

Today Show

Neurologist Andy Stern says some marine biologists are predicting a possibly grim future for the ocean, but he and his team of engineers developed an inexpensive and portable product to study the waters. It’s an intelligent surfboard, called Smartfin, which analyzes different details of the waves, to hopefully one day provide insight into what climate change is doing now and what it will do next.

Friday, September 2, 2016
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