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HABs and ocean acidification: Additive, synergistic, antagonistic, or otherwise?

Presented by: Chris Gobler, Stony Brook University, June 17th, 2020

Harmful algal blooms and ocean acidification have emerged as two expanding threats to coastal ecosystems.  While climate-change driven ocean acidification is expected to alter marine ecosystems through this century, the dynamic nature of carbon cycling in coastal zones can lead to seasonal and diel changes in pH and CO2 concentrations that can exceed changes expected for open ocean ecosystems by the end of the century.  Harmful algal blooms occur in these dynamic coastal zones and several HAB species and/or strains respond to increased COconcentrations with increases in growth rate and/or cellular toxin content, while others are unaffected. Beyond the effects of altered C concentrations and speciation on HABs, changes in pH in natural waters are also likely to have profound effects on algal physiology.  Regardless of how acidification affects HABs, it is a clear environmental threat to a suite of calcifying invertebrates as well as other marine organisms including early life stage fish.  While HABs and acidification co-occur on coastal zones, their combined effects on marine life are very poorly understood.  This talk will explore interactions between ocean acidification and HABs and implications of their co-occurrence for ocean organisms.

 
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ADAPTING TO OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) works to prepare society to adapt to the consequences of ocean acidification and conserve marine ecosystems as acidification occurs. Learn more about the human connections and adaptation strategies from these efforts.

Adaptation approaches fostered by the OAP include:

FORECASTING

Using models and research to understand the sensitivity of organisms and ecosystems to ocean acidification to make predictions about the future, allowing communities and industries to prepare

MANAGEMENT

Using these models and predictions as tools to facilitate management strategies that will protect marine resources and communities from future changes

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

Developing innovative tools to help monitor ocean acidification and mitigate changing ocean chemistry locally

REDUCING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

On the Road

Drive fuel-efficient vehicles or choose public transportation. Choose your bike or walk! Don't sit idle for more than 30 seconds. Keep your tires properly inflated.

With your Food Choices

Eat local- this helps cut down on production and transport! Reduce your meat and dairy. Compost to avoid food waste ending up in the landfill

With your Food Choices

Make energy-efficient choices for your appliances and lighting. Heat and cool efficiently! Change your air filters and program your thermostat, seal and insulate your home, and support clean energy sources

By Reducing Coastal Acidification

Reduce your use of fertilizers, Improve sewage treatment and run off, and Protect and restore coastal habitats

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TAKE ACTION WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

You've taken the first step to learn more about ocean acidification - why not spread this knowledge to your community?

Every community has their unique culture, economy and ecology and what’s at stake from ocean acidification may be different depending on where you live.  As a community member, you can take a larger role in educating the public about ocean acidification. Creating awareness is the first step to taking action.  As communities gain traction, neighboring regions that share marine resources can build larger coalitions to address ocean acidification.  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Work with informal educators, such as aquarium outreach programs and local non-profits, to teach the public about ocean acidification. Visit our Education & Outreach page to find the newest tools!
  2. Participate in habitat restoration efforts to restore habitats that help mitigate the effects of coastal acidification
  3. Facilitate conversations with local businesses that might be affected by ocean acidification, building a plan for the future.
  4. Partner with local community efforts to mitigate the driver behind ocean acidification  – excess CO2 – such as community supported agriculture, bike & car shares and other public transportation options.
  5. Contact your regional Coastal Acidification Network (CAN) to learn how OA is affecting your region and more ideas about how you can get involved in your community
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