An additional concern relates to the need for a stronger emphasis in the Strategic Plan on development of new technologies for chemical and biological monitoring efforts. We have pointed out the significance of development of in situ sensors for monitoring ocean chemistry over space, time and depth. Needs for effective in situ detectors for tracking biological changes also exist; development of this technology lags well behind development of chemical sensors. As in the case of chemical sensors, development of effective in situ instrumentation for biological monitoring could benefit from collaborations between researchers in academic and governmental programs and engineering partners in industry. Improved technology for biological studies also may be required for mechanistic physiological experimentation. For example, new tools and techniques may be needed for measuring changes in pH at the systemic, cellular, and subcellular levels in marine species that require instrumentation not available off the shelf from manufacturers of biomedical equipment. Finally, in common with many of the other Themes in the Strategic Plan, there is little mention of appropriate metrics for evaluating progress (see Chapter 2 of this report for detailed discussion).


In recognition that the effects of ocean acidification may include profound influences on human society as well as on marine ecosystems, the FOARAM Act specifies in its list of Program Elements that an “[a]ssessment of socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification and development of adaptation and mitigation strategies to conserve marine organisms and marine ecosystems” be undertaken. This summary statement concisely expresses the socioeconomic requirements given in the FOARAM Act: “The purposes of this Act are to provide for … (3) assessment and consideration of regional and national ecosystem and socioeconomic impacts of increased ocean acidification; and (4) research on adaptation strategies and techniques for effectively conserving marine ecosystems as they cope with increased ocean acidification. In Section 6 of the Act, it is further stated that the NOAA Secretary may adopt a plan that supports “critical research projects that explore the effects of ocean acidification on ecosystems and the socioeconomic impacts of increased ocean acidification that are relevant to the goals and priorities of the strategic research plan.”

These socioeconomic issues are especially challenging in view of several factors, notably (1) the difficulties in extrapolating from often poorly understood ecological changes to impacts on human populations and their economies, (2) uncertainties about optimal adaptation strategies to buffer society against effects of ocean acidification, and (3) the complex

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement