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Published: September 26, 2012

International conference focuses on challenges of ocean chemistry changes

News |
Over 500 scientists from 37 countries have descended on Monterey, Calif., Sept. 24-27, to present the latest science related to ocean acidification, the result of the oceans absorbing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“This is a rapidly growing area of research. The first international conference on ocean acidification in 2004 attracted 125 participants. In 2008 it was 227. This year we have 547 participants,” said Professor Ulf Riebesell, conference chair, a marine scientist at IMF GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel in Germany.   

During three days of scientific presentations, scientists will address how marine organisms and ecosystems are affected by and respond to the changing ocean chemistry. Ocean acidification, which reduces the pH of the oceans, affects creatures large and small, especially those that grow shells or skeletons for survival, such as corals, oysters, and very tiny creatures essential for the marine food web.

In addition to the science, other efforts related to ocean acidification will be presented, including the start of an
international coordination centre and potential economic impacts of ocean acidification.
The last day of the conference will be a joint policy event with the Blue Ocean Film Festival, which includes a variety of activities to draw public attention to the issue of ocean acidification.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco is scheduled to participate in a panel on Sept. 24 that includes scientists, representatives of the shellfish industry, and filmmakers. Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, is slated to chair that panel.

This is the first time the conference, held every three years, takes place in the United States.

Conference sponsors are the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.
Conference website: http://www.highco2-iii.org/main.cfm?cid=2259

Contact: Owen Gaffney, IGBP, owen.gaffney@igbp.kva.se
Jana Goldman, NOAA, jana.goldman@noaa.gov

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