The International Working Group on the
Ecosystem Level Impacts of Ocean Acidification

Exploring the effects of ocean acidification on the structure and function of ecosystems: a UK/US research collaboration.

Ocean acidification due to rising ocean carbon levels is now recognized widely in the scientific community as a potential threat to marine organisms, ecosystems, and related benefits for society. Focused research efforts on the effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms are providing a coarse understanding of the breadth of responses on marine organisms, mainly in relation to physiological processes. Efforts to ‘scale-up’ from single species responses to the level of populations and communities, particularly in the context of multiple simultaneous stressors, are among several priorities for research that are emphasized in various recent reviews on ocean acidification. Considering the difficulty of scaling up from single species / short term studies to the level of populations, communities, and ecosystems over decadal and longer scales, directed collaborative efforts among experimentalists and modellers are needed to help move research more rapidly toward the goal of ecosystem level understanding of potential OA impacts.

Participants at the 1st workshop of the International Working Group on the Ecosystem Level Impacts of Ocean Acidification (Hopkins Marine Laboratory, 28th-29th October 2012)

A group of UK and US researchers are working together to discuss approaches for assessing the effects of ocean acidification on the structure and function of ecosystems. Thirty-three participants explored topics including; model approaches to scale-up from single-species studies to population and community levels, the utility of various experimental data for modelers, use of long-term observations, natural gradients, manipulative experiments and mechanisms to promote collaboration among disciplines. This website will be used to facilitate the collaboration between the UK and US partners, to share knowledge, resources and encourage discussion between disciplines and countries. The workshop was structured into six Discussion Sessions:

Discussion Session 1: What model approaches are available that could help us scale up from data on individual responses to impacts at the level of populations, communities and ecosystems? Chair: Jerry Blackford. Rapporteur: Kenny Schneider.

Discussion Session 2: What kinds of experimental and observational data can be collected that are of best use to models? Chair: Murray Roberts. Rapporteur: Brian Gaylord.

Discussion Session 3: Can we use long-term observations to detect and predict ecosystem change? Chair: Tim Wootton. Rapporteur: Helen Findlay.

Discussion Session 4: How can we best use natural gradients (latitudinal, environmental) to study the impact of climate stressors on individuals and communities? Chair: Piero Calosi. Rapporteur: Sophie McCoy.

Discussion Session 5: What approaches are available to conduct manipulative experiments on whole communities and assemblages? Chair: Jim Barry. Rapporteur: Silvana Birchenough.

Discussion Session 6: What practical mechanisms can we put in place to support future collaborative experimental, observational and modelling efforts? Chair: Steve Widdicombe. Rapporteur: Kristy Kroeker.