The £12 million UK Ocean Acidification (UKOA) Research Programme is jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It started in July 2010 and will run for five years.
The research will be undertaken by 27 research institutes across the UK including NERC marine research centres, university departments and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).
The programme will collaborate with other ocean acidification programmes from around the world and aims to
- Reduce uncertainties in predictions of carbonate chemistry changes and their effects on marine biogeochemistry, ecosystems and other components of the Earth System.
- Understand the responses to ocean acidification and other climate change related stressors from marine organisms, biodiversity and ecosystems and improve understanding of their resistance or susceptibility to acidification.
- Provide data and effective advice to policy makers and managers of marine bioresources on the potential size and timescale of risks, to allow for development of appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Six projects have been funded, each delivering a key part of the programme, designed to answer the following questions
- How much variability is there in oceanic CO2 uptake and what are the trends for the future?
Led by Professor Andrew Watson, University of East Anglia.
- What are the impacts of ocean acidification on key benthic (seabed) ecosystems, communities, habitats, species and their life cycles?
Led by Dr Stephen Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
- How will ocean acidification affect the biology of surface ocean communities and biogeochemistry, and how that might feedback to climate?
Led by Dr Toby Tyrrell, National Oceanography Centre.
- What are the potential impacts of ocean acidification on the ocean and how it might amplify rising CO2 and climate change?
Led by Dr Andy Ridgwell, University of Bristol.
- How will ocean acidification impact ecosystems and chemical cycling in UK and Arctic regional seas?
Led by Dr Jerry Blackford, Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
- What were the effects of rapid ocean acidification events in the Earth’s past?
Led by Professor Paul Pearson, Cardiff University.
- What are the potential impacts of ocean acidification on the life stages of commercially important species, on their associated ecosystems and socio-economics, and their capacity to resist and adapt?
Led by Professor Kevin Flynn, University of Swansea.