NOAA's Ocean Acidification Program supports research that focuses on economically and ecologically important marine species. Research of survival, growth, and physiology of marine organisms can be used to explore how aquaculture, wild fisheries, and food webs may change as ocean chemistry changes.
A number of NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Science Centers have state-of-the-art experimental facilities to study the response of marine organisms to the chemistry conditions expected with ocean acidification.
The Northeast Fisheries Science Center has facilities at its Sandy Hook, NJ and Milford, CT laboratories; the Alaska Fisheries Science Centers at its Newport, OR and Kodiak, AK laboratories; and the Northwest Fisheries Science Center at its Mukilteo and Manchester, WA laboratories. All facilities can tightly control carbon dioxide and temperature. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center can also control oxygen, and can create variable treatment conditions for carbon dioxide, temperature, and oxygen. These facilities include equipment for seawater carbon chemistry analysis, and all use standard operating procedures for analyzing carbonate chemistry to identify the treatment conditions used in experiments.
Both deep sea and shallow reef-building corals have calcium carbonate skeletons. As our oceans become more acidic, carbonate ions, which are an important part of calcium carbonate structures, such as these coral skeletons, become relatively less abundant. Decreases in seawater carbonate ion concentration can make building and maintaining calcium carbonate structures difficult for calcifying marine organisms such as coral.
Increased levels of carbon dioxide in our ocean can have a wide variety of impacts on fish, including altering behavior, otolith (a fish's ear bone) formation, and young fish's growth. Find out more about what scientists are learning about ocean acidification impacts on fish like rockfish, scup, summer flounder, and walleye pollock.
Shellfish, such as oyster, clams, crabs and scallop, provide food for marine life and for people, too. Shellfish make their shells or carapaces from calcium carbonate, which contains carbonate ion as a building block. The decreases in seawater carbonate ion concentration expected with ocean acidification can make building and maintaining calcium carbonate structures difficult for calcifying marine organisms like shellfish. This may impact their survival, growth, and physiology, and, thus, the food webs and economies that depend on them.
Plankton are tiny plants and animals that many marine organisms, ranging from salmon to whales, rely on for nutrition. Some plankton have calcium carbonate structures, which are built from carbonate ions. Carbonate ions become relatively less abundant as the oceans become more acidic. Decreases in seawater carbonate ions can make building and maintaining shells and other calcium carbonate structures difficult for calcifying marine organisms such as plankton. Changes to the survival, growth, and physiology of plankton can have impacts throughout the food web.
Among the NOAA designated Large Marine Ecosystems, the Gulf
of Mexico (GOM) remains poorly understood in terms of its current OA conditions, despite its
ecological and economic significance. In the northwestern GOM (nwGOM), decadal
acidification has been observed in the shelf-slope region, with metabolic production of CO2
contributing to a larger fraction of CO2 accumulation than uptake of anthropogenic CO2, and the
observed rate of acidification is significantly greater than that in other tropical and subtropical
areas. Unfortunately, whether the observed OA in this region represents a short-term
phenomenon or a long-term trend is unknown.
It is hypothesized that increasing atmospheric CO2, increasing terrestrial nutrient export
due to an enhanced hydrological cycle, and enhanced upwelling due to climate change will cause
the continental shelf-slope region in the nwGOM to acidify faster than other tropical and
subtropical seas. In order to test this hypothesis wave gliders, in -stiu sensor along withe underway measurements from research vessels will measure carbonated chemistry in in surface and shallow waters. Modeling will be used tp integrate the chemical signals into the models to hindcast/predict spatia; and temporal variation of the OA signal for the the optimization of monitoring design and implementation.
The U.S. Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem, supports some of the nation’s most economically valuable coastal fisheries, yet most of this revenue comes from shellfish that are sensitive to ocean acidification (OA). Furthermore, the weakly buffered northern region of this area is expected to have greater susceptibility to OA. Existing OA observations in the NES do not sample at the time, space, and depth scales needed to capture the physical, biological, and chemical processes occurring in this dynamic coastal shelf region. Specific to inorganic carbon and OA, the data available in the region has not been leveraged to conduct a comprehensive regional-scale analysis that would increase the ability to understand and model seasonal-scale, spatial-scale, and subsurface carbonate chemistry dynamics, variability, and drivers in the NES. This project optimizes the NES OA observation network encompassing the Mid-Atlantic and Gulf of Maine regions by adding seasonal deployments of underwater gliders equipped with transformative, newly developed and tested deep ISFET-based pH sensors and additional sensors (measuring temperature, salinity for total alkalinity and aragonite saturation [ΩArag] estimation, oxygen, and chlorophyll), optimizing existing regional sampling to enhance carbonate chemistry measurements in several key locations, and compiling and integrating existing OA assets. The researchers will apply these data to an existing NES ocean ecosystem/biogeochemical (BGC) model that resolves carbonate chemistry and its variability.
The Environmental Assessment Program (EAP) program within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill a Marine Scientist (Natural Resource Scientist 2) position. Applications are due April 24, 2018.
This position is located at our Headquarters Building in Lacey, WA but conducts work statewide. This position is responsible for conducting marine water quality monitoring, with a focus on ocean acidification. Responsibilities include implementing the addition of ocean acidification-relevant parameters to Ecology's marine waters monitoring program in Puget Sound. This position is also responsible for oceanographic sampling gear preparation and use, instrument calibration (CTD and other electronic sensors), laboratory sample analyses, data analysis, and report writing. The data collected is used to determine the status and trends of marine water quality in context to ocean acidification in Washington state.
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The University of Delaware (UD) College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment is seeking applications for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist position in chemical oceanography and metrology. The successful candidate will work on a NOAA funded project to aid in the development of a reference material for ocean pH by establishing traceability of pH indicator dyes to the International System of Units (SI). The scholar will make use of state-of-the-art analytical and experimental facilities at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Candidates must have a PhD in either chemical oceanography, analytical chemistry, or a closely related field. Demonstrated skills with spectrophotometry, potentiometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and/or physical chemistry are preferred. The position will be located at the NIST facility in Gaithersburg, MD, but the appointment will be made through the University of Delaware. The postdoc will also attend field test cruises with the UD group. The appointment will be for one year, with continuation pending funding and progress.
Please contact Wei-Jun Cai (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Regina Easley (email@example.com) for additional information.
A new Ocean Acidification monitoring buoy was deployed on April 5, 2018 in the largest United States estuary, the Chesapeake Bay. This is the first long-term ocean acidification monitoring buoy and it will be deployed at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The buoy will measure carbon parameters in the estuary, which is particularly vulnerable to changes in carbonate chemistry. These changes could impact economically valuable resources for Bay communities, such as oysters. The data from this buoy will supply models with the information needed to recognize potential areas of vulnerability and what future chemical parameters may look like in the bay, while also expanding the National Ocean Acidification Observing Network. It will also help researchers at NOAA PMEL, University of Delaware and University of Maryland differentiate between human-caused and natural variations in carbonate chemistry in the estuary.