Ocean Acidfication Initiative


A Cross-Institute Initiative

WHOI's Ocean Acidification Initiative (OAI) is a multi-year research program designed to answer urgent questions about the potentially devastating impacts of an increasingly acidic ocean on the marine food web and fisheries and the societal repercussions of these environmental changes.

There is a strong scientific consensus and growing public awareness that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are making the oceans more acidic and impacting marine ecosystems and fisheries.  Through the OAI, which is coordinated and supported by all four Ocean Institutes, proposals are being funded that investigate ocean acidification in coastal settings of the Atlantic Coast of the United States, from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to the Gulf of Maine.  

Thematic topics to be included within the OAI are:
  • Field studies of that include comprehensive measurements of water chemistry, and development of new sensors and new modeling techniques.
  • Lab studies of the biological impacts of (e.g., gene expression, acclimation, and adaptation).
  • Field studies of OA impacts on fish and shellfish species and ecosystems (e.g., calcification, food quality).
  • Societal impacts of OA (studies of economic impacts on commercial fisheries and aquaculture, ecosystem services or marine recreation, and development of science-based management approaches and aquaculture procedures to minimize OA impacts)

Ocean Acidification Initiative Postdoctoral Scholar

Matt Long, 2013 Postdoctoral Scholar

His research focuses on ocean acidification in coastal systems to evaluate how these environments will respond to changes in pH and carbon cycling.

Matt has also recently been awarded a grant from the The Education Foundation of America. The grant will support a mesocosm experiment to examine if a positive feedback between clams and algal "fouling" on clam nets may provide favorable conditions for calcification.  This study will combine shellfish aquaculture with algae aquaculture to evaluate the influence of algae on water carbonate chemistry and shellfish growth, quantifying a potential refuge from ocean acidification for calcifying organisms.  Non-fed, non-polluting clam and algae aquaculture designs and management strategies will be produced that bioextract excess nutrients and carbon from coastal ecosystems.

2014 OAI Funded Projects

2013 OAI Funded Projects

Ocean Acidification Initiative Project

Anna Michel, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering
Scott Wankel, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry

Related Information