and will vary among organisms, with some coping well and others not at all. The long-term consequences of ocean acidification for marine biota are unknown, but changes in many ecosystems and the services they provide to society appear likely based on current understanding (Raven et al., 2005).
In response to these concerns, Congress requested that the National Research Council conduct a study on ocean acidification in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006. The Committee on the Development of an Integrated Science Strategy for Ocean Acidification Monitoring, Research, and Impacts Assessment is charged with reviewing the current state of knowledge and identifying key gaps in information to help federal agencies develop a program to improve understanding and address the consequences of ocean acidification (see Box S.1 for full statement of task). Shortly after the study was underway, Congress passed another law—the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FOARAM) Act of 2009—which calls for, among other things, the establishment of a federal ocean acidification program; this report is directed to the ongoing strategic planning process for such a program.
Although ocean acidification research is in its infancy, there is already growing evidence of changes in ocean chemistry and ensuing biological impacts. Time-series measurements and other field data have documented the decrease in ocean pH and other related changes in seawater chemistry (Dore et al., 2009). The absorption of anthropogenic CO2 by the oceans increases the concentration of hydrogen ions in seawater (quanti-
Statement of Task
Among the many potential direct and indirect impacts of greenhouse gas emissions (particularly CO2) and global warming, this study will examine the anticipated consequences of ocean acidification due to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on fisheries, protected species, coral reefs, and other natural resources in the United States and internationally. The committee will recommend priorities for a national research, monitoring, and assessment plan to advance understanding of the biogeochemistry of carbon dioxide uptake in the ocean and the relationship to atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, and to reduce uncertainties in projections of increasing ocean acidification and the potential effects on living marine resources and ocean ecosystems. The committee’s report will: