The ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which results in seawater becoming more acidic (lower pH). This increase in ocean acidity makes it difficult for some calcifying organisms (e.g. calcareous plankton, oysters, clams, corals, etc.) to make or maintain their shells or exoskelatons. Other important physiological processes of marine organisms can be disrupted by increased acidity as well. Many of the potentially impacted ocean plants and animals are important in marine food webs or are important commercial species.
What We Do
NOAA Fisheries supports the NOAA-wide Ocean Acidification Program, established by Congress in 2009, which will plan and oversee a long-term coastal and open ocean monitoring program, lead research on the impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and the socioeconomic implications of these impacts. ST continues to provide guidance on Ocean Acidification Program development and funding opportunities. For more information go to the Ocean Acidification Program website.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, October 2012. Web site.