Ocean Acidification Work

CeNCOOS supports and coordinates a network of ocean observing instruments aimed at better monitoring and predicting the impact that Ocean Acidification (OA) is having on California’s coastal marine environment. By employing an integrated observational network of advanced technologies which include moorings, shore-based instruments, and autonomous vehicles, CeNCOOS ensures that timely ocean conditions and critical water quality data are available to regional stakeholders and to the general public. CeNCOOS works in close collaboration with an extensive group of partner organizations, facilitating continuous access to relevant ocean measurements, models, and integrated data products delivered to end users via the CeNCOOS data portal.

Monitoring Ocean Acidification

Real- and near-real time OA measurements acquired using CeNCOOS instruments provide notice of potentially damaging acidic seawater in coastal areas where shellfish larvae are farmed. These data help shellfish growers make informed management decisions regarding their operations, minimizing losses in revenue the growers might otherwise endure.

Shore Stations and Moorings

A network of monitoring stations on and near the coast measures changes in seawater chemistry related to ocean acidification. Stations are positioned throughout the CeNCOOS region and track various OA-relevant variables including pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and salinity. These parameters are measured at several surface stations and at a subsurface seawater intake system in the Monterey Bay, allowing better monitoring of water changes from upwelling. Data from these sensors are used by scientists to determine the impacts OA is having on the region’s marine ecosystems. Through these novel approaches, CeNCOOS is charting new territory in understanding ocean pH along our coasts.

Autonomous Vehicles

The deployment of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) such as profiling gliders is an important tool in measuring changing ocean conditions throughout the region. CeNCOOS integrates data from several of the region’s gliders to better understand the dynamics of ocean acidification. Our partners are also working to develop specialized sensors that can be deployed on gliders to measure pH and other OA variables in waters that cannot be reached by monitoring stations.

OA Related Projects

West Coast Efforts

The West Coast Ocean Observing Systems, which include CeNCOOS, SCCOOS, and NANOOS, are working to inventory  OA monitoring stations along the California, Oregon, and Washington coastlines. This effort will provide a more accurate picture of ocean acidification trends along the Western U.S. The observing systems collaborate directly with the California Current Acidification Network (C-CAN) which brings together scientists, commercial fishermen, shellfish growers, and resource managers to better understand the impact ocean acidification is having on marine organisms and coastal habitats throughout the region.

Additionally, CeNCOOS is an active partner with the West Coast Governor’s Alliance (WCGA) on Ocean Health that maintains a focus area on ocean acidification. The west coast observing systems and the WCGA co-hosted a SeaGrant Fellow in 2014 who dedicated time to ocean acidification related issues.

California State Water Resources Control Board

Along with our southern California counterpart SCCOOS, we recently partnered with California’s State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to test various methods of monitoring OA in state coastal waters. CeNCOOS has contributed three OA monitoring locations for inclusion in the first year of a SWCRB pilot project aimed at determining the best practices for measuring ocean pH using a common sensor.

OA Monitoring at Hog Island Oyster Company

With funding from the IOOS Marine Sensor Innovation Program, CeNCOOS has installed a cutting edge OA instrument in partnership with Hog Island Oyster Company in Tomales Bay, CA. The monitoring effort will be led by researchers at UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab and will allow researchers to better track the impacts of ocean acidification shellfish aquaculture. Data collected will be compared with other measurements in Tomales Bay, and lessons learned from these operations will be applied to future coastal measurements of ocean acidification. This kind of industry-academic partnership is integral to addressing OA and its impacts to California.

Turning the Tide on Ocean Acidification

Video by the Ocean Conservancy on OA and the industry-science-collaboration between Hog Island Oyster Company, UC Davis, and California resouces managers.

Tessa Hill of UC Davis holds a sensor that monitors ocean pH. Hill has partnered with Hog Island Oyster Company to study the impact of ocean acidification on oysters. Photo by Brenna Schlagenhauf, Hog Island Oyster Co. Ocean Acid Trip: The Hidden Harm of Climate Change

Article in BayNature on the collaboration between UC Davis scientists and the Hog Island Oyster Company calling it “an encouraging — and necessary — start” to combating ocean acidification.

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