Ocean and Coastal Acidification Thresholds

About the Project

Funded by the NOAA's Ocean Acidification Program and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, we will be working with our partners to expand the existing Northeast Coastal Ocean Forecast System (NECOFS) to include the carbonate chemistry that determines coastal acidification. The project team will combine advanced circulation, hydrological, and ecological models. The team will also organize workshops and focus groups to determine information needs, decision scenarios, modeling priorities, and options for delivering actionable information for three specific user groups: (1) water quality managers and monitoring systems, (2) oyster growers, and (3) the wild harvest shellfishing industry. This information will then be made available on the NERACOOS website.

Why We Care

Waters of the northeastern U.S. are among the most vulnerable to ocean and coastal acidification (OCA). OCA threatens the livelihoods of Northeast coastal communities through current and potential impacts on commercially and culturally important species and ecosystems. Successful adaptation and mitigation options to address these impacts—including actions by municipal, state, and federal water quality managers, marine resource managers, coastal zone managers, fishers, and the aquaculture industry—depend strongly on the availability of real-time predictions and short-term forecasts to inform decision-making. Without a way to predict OCA conditions in the dynamic coastal system, industry members, resource managers, and coastal policy makers have little insight into how to plan, respond, and adapt to OCA.

Benefits of our Work

With carbonate chemistry added to NECOFS, it will be possible to predict acidification conditions through short-term forecasts and longer term predictions of climate effects. An ability to project acidification conditions throughout the region will allow managers to develop plans for coastal water quality and marine resources. The project includes an advisory council with representation from the Northeast Coastal Acidification Network, EPA Region 1, NOAA Fisheries/Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, Maine Bureau of Water Quality, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, Island Creek Oysters (MA), Fishers Island Oyster Farm, Inc. (NY), and Island Institute (ME).

Project Partners:

University of New Hampshire (Salisbury, J. & Brewer, J.), University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (Changsheng, C. & Beardsley, R. (WHOI)), University of Maine Orono (Strong, A. (now Hamilton College) & Gassett, P.), Northeast Regional Ocean Council (LeBlanc, J.), the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (Young Morse, R.), Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (Goldstein, J.), Mook Sea Farm (White, M.), and New Hampshire Sea Grant (Chapman, E.).

Effort Funded By: