OAP Projects in the GULF OF ALASKA


Understanding the effects of ocean acidification on Dungeness crab

Understanding the effects of ocean acidification on Dungeness crab

Paul McElhany - NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Understanding CO2 effects on Dungeness crab: population variability, temperature interactions, calcification process, and carbonate sensitivity

Why we care
Dungeness crabs support the most valuable fishery on the U.S. West Coast. Previous research shows lower survival and slower development in Dungeness crab zoea (young larval stage) when reared in high carbon dioxide conditions. This project helps us understand why, where, and under what conditions these effects occur. Answers to these questions will allow better projections of how Dungeness crab will fare in an acidifying ocean and provide critical data for projections of impacts on related species. 

What we are doing 
This project investigates regional variation in Dungeness crab to acidification, expanding the geographic range of previous studies to British Columbia. We will evaluate the relative impacts of acidification and climate-driven temperature change in multi-stressor experiments. This project aims to determine which of the carbonate chemistry parameters (pH, saturation state, partial pressure of carbon dioxide, dissolved inorganic carbon, and alkalinity) drive changes in Dungeness crab survival. This indicates which physiological processes are involved in responding to ocean acidification  and those we expect to drive any field observations of biological changes from ocean acidification. Lastly, we use stable calcium isotopes as labels to help understand the calcification process throughout the Dungeness crab molting cycle. We can then assess this as a potential cause of observed mortality and the utility of using exoskeleton condition as a field indicator of acidification. 

Benefits of our work
The research will explicitly evaluate potential mechanisms involved in observed field correlations between Dungeness crab larval exoskeleton morphology and ocean carbonate chemistry. These observations allow an assessment of Dungeness crab as a biological indicator of ocean acidification in the region.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Technology Refresh: Accelerating OA Sensor Development

Chris Meinig - NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

Accelerating Ocean Acidification Sensor Development

Why we care
After nearly a decade, the NOAA Ocean Acidification Observing Network (NOA-ON) has reached the maturity level where a sustained effort to refresh its core technology, the Moored Autonomous pCO2 (MAPCO2), is necessary to maintain the current monitoring level. There is also the pressing need to develop technology to both improve the accuracy and reliability of the measurement of a second carbonate system parameter (dissolved inorganic carbon, DIC) in order to better measure and understand ocean acidification (OA). 

What we are doing
We will develop a modestly-priced, mass-producible, climate-quality surface ocean system that will measure 2 key parameters (pCO2, DIC) of the oceans carbonate (buffering) system. The system will be deployable on a variety of autonomous platforms and vehicles to meet the needs of both the ocean acidification and surface ocean carbon dioxide international observing networks. 

Benefits of our work
The NOA-ON network can sustain these important observations while adding the ability to autonomously observe the ocean with a measurement quality sufficient to detect long-term changes in ocean acidification. This is a priority task for NOA-ON, the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) and others that cannot be accomplished with current technology. The pCO2-DIC sensor developed under this project will contribute towards better assessment of the vulnerability of U.S. waters to ocean acidification by providing access to real time information about the variability of OA, meeting the needs of several stakeholders in the marine resource community.


Sunday, February 12, 2023
Interactions between ocean acidification and metal contaminant uptake by Blue Mussels

Interactions between ocean acidification and metal contaminant uptake by Blue Mussels

David Whitall - NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Assessing ocean acidification as a driver for enhanced metals uptake by Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis): implications for aquaculture and seafood safety

Why we care
Ocean acidification causes changes in the chemistry of stressors such as metals and may affect both the susceptibility of these animals to the contaminants as well as the toxicity. This is especially important for animals like blue mussels and other economically important shellfish that accumulate toxins in their bodies. Metal accumulation as a co-stressor of ocean acidification is not well documented for northeastern U.S. shellfish aquaculture species and better understanding these relationships supports seafood safety. 

What we are doing
This work investigates the impacts of metal speciation (forms) on blue mussels under acidified conditions in both field and laboratory experiments. Scientists will first study uptake rates of these metals by blue mussels and then see how changing conditions affects their accumulation and toxicity. Comparing what they learn in the lab to what occurs in the field where these mussels are farmed, helps support decisions for seafood safety and industry best practices.

Benefits of our work
Coastal managers and aquaculturists can use these results that provide the societal benefits of better informed siting of aquaculture and safer seafood.


Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Surveying the state of ocean acidification along the U.S. West Coast

Surveying the state of ocean acidification along the U.S. West Coast

Richard Feely - Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

PMEL Sustained Ocean Acidification Biogeochemical and Ecological Survey Observations

Why we care
U.S. West coast-wide hydrographic surveys have been conducted intermittently from 2007 to 2017, providing evidence for the geographic extent and severity of ocean acidification in the continental shelf ecosystem. Scientists on the NOAA West Coast Ocean Acidification (WCOA) discovered that the combined effects of anthropogenic and biologically-derived carbon dioxide resulted in significant biological impacts for oyster larvae and pteropods, which are small, ecologically important mollusks for the food web. 

What we are doing
This project executes a large-scale survey of ocean acidification carbonate chemistry in the California Current System and continues processing data and publishing scientific papers based on 2016 and 2017 surveys findings. This survey determines the spatial distributions of temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity, oxygen, nutrients, and biological parameters along the west coast of North America. Survey results will provide the basis for accurate assessments of changing ocean chemistry in the following areas: 1) spatial variability; 2) extent and causes of long-term changes in carbonate system parameters and their impacts on calcifying (shell-building) organisms; and 3) empirical relationships for obtaining high-resolution information on ocean acidification collected on moorings. 

Benefits of our work
This project links the combined stressors of increased temperature, acidification, and hypoxia (low oxygen) with effects on marine organisms in the region and identifies spatial variability of acidifying conditions during the spring/summer upwelling season. In addition to scientific partners, this project engages a NOAA Teacher At Sea (TAS) fellow on the cruise to help develop outreach and education on West Coast ocean acidification.


Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Sustained ocean acidification monitoring on ships of opportunity in the Pacific

Sustained ocean acidification monitoring on ships of opportunity in the Pacific

Simone Alin - Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

PMEL Sustained Investment Coastal Underway Ocean Acidification Observations (PUO)

Why we care
Underway ship measurements of ocean acidification (OA) data on ships of opportunity (SOOP) have proven to be a robust and cost-effective way of expanding OA observations. Ship-based observations provide an understanding of the spatial extent of processes that drive OA. Surface underway observations, in conjunction with coastal moorings and dedicated large-scale surveys, make an important contribution to addressing the hypothesis that acidification varies across space and time as a consequence of local and regional processes.


What we are doing 
The focus of this project is to sustain existing underway OA monitoring systems on NOAA Ships Oscar Dyson and Bell M. Shimada, which operate along the U.S. West Coast. Project objectives also include sustaining underway OA observations in the equatorial Pacific, upgrading sensor systems, and improving oxygen data collection. 

Benefits of our work
This project increases high-quality surface water OA data taken underway to accompany NOAA Fisheries cruises. Efforts also improve spatial and temporal coverage of OA measurements, improving our understanding of OA variability along the Pacific coast of North America.


Wednesday, August 31, 2022
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