Ocean Acidification in the Pacific Northwest
Washington Sea Grant (WSG) has been a leader in regional efforts to understand and address ocean acidification (OA) since the late 2000’s, when acidification was first linked to production failures in west coast shellfish hatcheries. In 2010, WSG helped establish the California Current Acidification Network (C-CAN), and began investing in scientific research. The following year, WSG hosted an Ocean Acidification Symposium, which attracted over 200 scientists, policymakers, tribal leaders, shellfish industry representatives and others concerned about the impacts of acidification on Washington's marine waters. Speakers challenged scientists and policy makers to work together to address the problem. Their challenge prompted Governor Chris Gregoire to convene the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification in 2012, making Washington the first state in the nation to tackle ocean acidification at this level.
In 2013, WSG brought Meg Chadsey on as their first Ocean Acidification Specialist and liaison to NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, one of the world’s leading centers for ocean acidification monitoring and research. Meg and other WSG staff engage Washington citizens and stakeholders through a variety of ocean acidification outreach, education, mitigation and adaptation projects.
Washington Sea Grant Staff
- Meg Chadsey: As WSG’s Ocean Acidification Specialist and liaison to NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Meg serves as a resource for scientific information about OA and provide technical assistance on OA-related projects. Meg conducts outreach and education to increase OA awareness, and support scientists, stakeholders and the public in their efforts to understand, communicate about and address this problem.
- Melissa Poe: In collaboration with NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Washing Sea Grant is leading a social science effort to examine the noneconomic impacts of ocean change and acidification on social and cultural values (e.g., sense of place, local ecological knowledge, identity, and cultural well being). The applied research team works with tribal and nontribal communities to better understand these impacts and to strengthen community capacity for mitigation, adaptation and resilience.
- Eric Scigliano: In conjunction with the Blue Ribbon Panel sessions, the Healthy Global Oceans Program of the National Fisheries Conservation Center and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership commissioned Eric Scigliano (now WSG's science writer) to examine the various strategies for mitigating, remediating and adapting to ocean acidification, resulting in the following publication:
- Jon Reum: In collaboration with colleagues at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Jon is evaluating contemporary temporal and spatial patterns in carbonate chemistry in coastal marine waters. Researchers interested in how ocean acidification is affecting local marine species use Jon’s data to design ecologically relevant experiments. Jon is also developing methods for quantifying the sensitivity of marine populations to acidification, and exploring qualitative models that capture the potential impact of acidification in shallow estuarine communities.
- Ocean Acidification in the Pacific Northwest. On behalf of the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel, Washington Sea Grant collaborated with NOAA and the Washington Ocean Acidification Center to summarize our growing understanding of the causes and consequences of ocean acidification in Pacific Northwest marine waters, as a companion document to the 2013 fact sheet 20 Facts About Ocean Acidification.
- 20 Facts About Ocean Acidification: Washington Sea Grant collaborated with NOAA, the U.S. Ocean Carbon Biogeochemistry Project (OCB), and international ocean acidification experts to develop "20 Facts about Ocean Acidification" as an aid for scientists, science communicators and policy advisers asked to speak about ocean acidification. A more comprehensive summary, used to create the 20 facts, is available through OCB. The fact sheet was published in October 2013 to coincide with the release of the International Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report and later updated for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP19). Spanish, French, and German translations are available.
- Meg Chadsey
- Washington Sea Grant Ocean Acidification brochure
- Sharing Ocean Acidification Resources for Communicators and Educators (SOARCE) Webinar Series
- Curricular Framework for Teaching Ocean Acidification: WSG is working with the Suquamish Tribe and science educators to collect and organize existing ocean acidification teaching tools into a coherent science curriculum aligned with national Next Generation Science Standards.
- Integrating Ocean Acidification into Bainbridge Island High School curricula: WSG partnered with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund to develop ocean acidification course and field work for Bainbridge Island High School Environmental Science classrooms. This project is funded by a 3M Corporation Ecogrant, and will commence in the spring of 2014.
- Carolyn Friedman
- Julie Keister
- Jennifer Ruesink
Washington state is a leader in ocean acidification policy:
- In 2010, state Senator Maria Cantwell secured funding for equipment that helps shellfish growers protect sensitive oyster larvae from the effects of OA.
- In November 2011, Washington Sea Grant hosted an Ocean Acidification Symposium in Seattle. The event drew several hundred scientists and stakeholders concerned about ocean acidification and its impacts on Washington's marine waters.
- In 2012, the governor created a Blue Ribbon Panel to assess current scientific understanding of ocean acidification and its likely local impacts. The panel was also asked to recommend a state response.
- In 2013, the state legislature established the Washington Marine Resources Advisory Council to keep building state-level momentum around OA and helped create the Washington Ocean Acidification Center at the University of Washington.
- Washington’s leadership has inspired action in other regions, like the West Coast OA and Hypoxia Science Panel and the Northeast Coastal Acidification Network.
Ocean Acidification Information Resources
- What Do We Know About Ocean Acidification in the Pacific Northwest?
- NOAA Ocean Acidification Program
- Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program
- International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme Ocean Acidification Blog
- Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre Blog
Ocean Acidification Media
- Sea Change: The Pacific's Perilous Turn. Seattle Times, Sept. 11, 2013
- Sightline Blog — Northwest Ocean Acidification
- Rallying to Save the Souring Seas and the Northwest's Cherished Oysters. Crosscut, April 5, 2013
- As the Oceans Turn Acidic, Scientists Report a Strange Finding: Hope. On Earth, Sept. 30, 2012
- The Socioeconomic Impacts of Ocean Acifidication. Oceanus 2012
- The Great Oyster Crash. On Earth, Aug. 17, 2011
- Sea Change: An Acid Peril Is Rising from the Depths and Falling from the Air. It Kills Local Oysters and Threatens Everything that Lives in the Sea. Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, March 2010
- A Sea of Change—Ocean Acidification Threatening Coastal Waters. NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
- The Darkening Sea. The New Yorker, Nov. 20, 2006
- Interview with Dr. Richard Feely and Brian Baird. KUOW Weekday, Nov. 9, 2011 (24Mb mp3)
- Impacts of ocean acidification on tribal subsistence culture. Suquamish High School student video (84Mb mp4)
- Ocean acidification chemistry explained. Animated cartoon, North Carolina Aquarium
- Ocean acidification cartoon, Rosemary Mosco, artist
- Ocean acidification presentation by Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator, 2010