Using Spatial Data and Analysis to Understand the Human Impacts of Ocean Acidification

Award Year: 
Principal Investigator: 
Linwood Pendleton, Duke University
Sarah Cooley, Ocean Conservancy
Lisa Suatoni, Natural Resources Defense Council
Associated Program: 
Email List: 

We propose an integrated, spatial assessment of the potential chemical, biological, and human dimensions of ocean acidification (OA) facilitated by three meetings and a parallel data synthesis guided by two overarching goals: 1) assess the potential impact of OA on coastal communities in order to identify hot spots where OA impacts will be most acute, and 2) assess whether current natural and social science research can address policy and environmental management needs for OA; we will identify research needs that are unmet. Globally, we will identify regions where impacts are likely to be acute. In the U.S., where data are more spatially refined, we will identify specific communities and fisheries at most risk.

To date, OA science has not been driven by tractable policy questions such as: Where can local action curb the effects of OA? How can we design better monitoring systems to collect data on OA to inform coastal managers? Our work will compile interdisciplinary knowledge in a new type of framework designed to be useful for policymakers.

Our synthesis will help policymakers tailor existing and planned activities to reduce the human consequences of OA. Understanding where local and regional impacts will occur is the first step in preparing for a more acidic ocean. The impacts of ocean acidification could be exacerbated by the impacts of other environmental problems (e.g. nutrient enrichment). Policy makers who understand where the effects of OA are likely to be acute can take steps to reduce the negative effects of these other “actionable” environmental factors.


Project Blog

Mike Beck, The Nature Conservancy
Luke Brander, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Lauretta Burke, World Resources Institute
Josh Cinner, James Cook University
Carolyn Doherty, Duke University
Peter Edwards, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Julia Ekstrom, Natural Resource Defense Council
Dwight Gledhill, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Libby Jewett, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Christopher Langdon, University of Miami
William McClintock, University of California - Santa Barbara
Rosimeiry Portela, Conservation International
Jessica Ritter, Natural Resource Defense Council
Daniel Rittschof, Duke University
Louise Teh, University of British Columbia
Ruben van Hooidonk, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
George Waldbusser, Oregon State University
Katharine Wellman, Northern Economics
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