Cambridge University hosted the kick-off meeting of the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme in January 2011.
The 5 year Programme is the UK’s response to growing concerns over ocean acidification and is jointly funded by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The programme will collaborate with other ocean acidification programms from around the world and aim to:
1. Reduce uncertainties in predictions of carbonate chemistry changes and their effects on marine biogeochemistry, ecosystems and other components of the Earth System
2. Understand the responses to ocean acidification, and other climate change related stressors, by marine organisms, biodiversity and ecosystems and to improve understanding of their resistance or susceptibility to acidification
3. 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.
The benthic consortium of the programme, led by Dr Steve Widdicombe, brings together 25 key researchers from 12 UK organisations to begin to quantify the impact of ocean acidification and warming on the health and activity of key benthic organisms. As part of this consortium, scientists at Heriot Watt University will invesigate the physiological and functional response of the cold-water coral, Lophelia pertusa to ocean acidification and warming. Further information can be found at the Benthic Consortium website.