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

Pacific Oysters Gain from Ocean Acidification Data

Pacific Oysters Gain from Ocean Acidification Data

NOAA

About six years ago, production at some Pacific Northwest oyster hatcheries began declining at an alarming rate, posing severe economic impact and challenging a way of life held by shellfish growers for more than 130 years.

By 2008, the oyster harvest at Whiskey Creek, a major Oregon supplier to the majority of West Coast oyster farmers, plummeted 80 percent. At about the same time, corrosive, acidified seawater was hitting the shores of the Pacific. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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Ocean Acidification: Local action in the Northwest Straits

Northwest Straits Commission

The Northwest Straits Initiative is working to mitigate ocean acidification and its impacts on local businesses and economies. Volunteers with seven county-based Marine Resources Committees (MRC) and the Northwest Straits Commission are demonstrating ways to engage in local solutions, and sharing information that is provided by leading science and policy experts.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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California Ocean Protection Council Announces West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel

Sacramento, Calif. – California and Oregon are joining forces to help address ocean acidification and hypoxia, a West Coast-wide threat to our shared marine and coastal ecosystems. The California Natural Resources Agency, on behalf of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state of Oregon to jointly sponsor a high-level science panel to help address the issue of ocean acidification and hypoxia.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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Turning the High Beams on Ocean Acidification: NOAA Funds Shellfish Farmers and Scientist To Expand Pacific Coast Monitoring With $1.4 Million Over Three Years

Turning the High Beams on Ocean Acidification: NOAA Funds Shellfish Farmers and Scientist To Expand Pacific Coast Monitoring With $1.4 Million Over Three Years

NOAA Ocean Acidification Program

NOAA is providing a grant of $1.4 million over three years to help shellfish growers and scientific experts work together to expand ocean acidification (OA) monitoring in waters that are particularly important to Pacific coast communities such as in oyster hatcheries and coastal waters where young oysters are grown. 

Shellfish growers, hatchery owners and scientists will work together to strengthen their understanding of and ability to adapt to the impacts of ocean acidification on the Pacific Coast of the US, including Alaska. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, which are being absorbed by the ocean, are causing a change in ocean chemistry which has already been detected along this coast. 

Monday, December 15, 2014
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Ocean Acidification Concerns, Information to be aired at Northeast Stakeholders Workshop

Ocean Acidification Concerns, Information to be aired at Northeast Stakeholders Workshop

The Northeast Coastal Acidification Network (NECAN) is hosting an “Ocean and Coastal Acidification Stakeholder Workshop” on December 10, 2014 at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine. The purpose is to inform and learn from fishermen, clam harvesters, aquaculturists, and coastal water quality volunteer programs their concerns and state of knowledge about ocean and coastal acidification (OCA). 

Thursday, December 4, 2014
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