Ocean acidification is a threat to food security, economies, and culture because of its potential impacts on marine ecosystem services. Information on how ocean acidification will impact ecosystems and the services they provide can help guide how we adapt to and mitigate forecasted changes. Scientists can use a wide variety of models to project the potential progression of acidification in different regions, the impacts that changes in chemistry may have on marine life, and how these changes could affect a variety of ecosystem services including fisheries, aquaculture, and protection of coasts by coral reefs.

The OAP funds modeling studies to advance our understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification on coastal ecosystems and fisheries. For example, projections of ocean acidification can be incorporated into food-web models to better understand how changing ocean chemistry could affect harvested species, protected species, and the structure of the food web itself. Scientists at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center have explored the impacts of ocean acidification on North Pacific food webs, fisheries, and protected species (Ainsworth et al. 2011, Busch et al. 2013a, Busch et al. 2013b, and Busch et al. 2010). Economic-forecast models can be used to analyze the economic impacts of potential changes in fisheries harvest caused by ocean acidification. Alaska Fisheries Science Center scientists applied the survival rates of red king crab from their laboratory studies on ocean acidification to a bio-economic model that simulates the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery to explore the implications of ocean acidification on the red king crab fishery.