Celebrating a decade of ocean acidification research in New Zealand

We now know much more than we did a decade ago about how climate change is affecting the chemistry and biology of our oceans. Ocean acidification research in New Zealand is celebrating ten years since it began in New Zealand with a special feature review in the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research.

The lead author is CARIM's own leader Professor Cliff Law. In an article showcasing the review in the New Zealand Herald Cliff says:

"It's important that after a decade of research, we identify where the research is going and pinpoint the knowledge gaps," ...."Ten years ago we were doing basic experiments, now we're looking at everything together - how changing temperatures, pH levels, nutrient run-off and turbidity for example, are affecting our coastal waters.

"It's got more and more complicated as it's gone on but what we know is that New Zealand waters are already exposed to ocean acidification and will be subject to further pH stress in the future."

The review stresses that there is still considerable uncertainty about how our marine species will fare in the future.

CARIM features in both the Herald piece and the review:

"We want to understand whether different life stages of these key species are affected by lower pH and how other factors in the environment might influence this impact," Law said.

"Coastal waters are the most variable in their natural pH levels; they are where we get the most benefits in terms of food, recreation and other amenities, yet also where we affect the ocean most."

There was a need to better understand whether our coastal areas would grow more resilient or vulnerable, and whether measures like selective breeding of shellfish might help.

"We are looking for tools and solutions as well as conducting research to determine if there is something we can do at the local level," Law said.

"The outcome will be better models, allowing more accurate predictions of the impacts of acidification in coastal waters, as well as management options for stakeholders."

Read the full Herald article here.