AcidCoast - in short
The research project AcidCoast asks how the issue of ocean acidification can be integrated into coastal zone management in Norway.
Continued sustainable economic development in Norway depends on well-functioning coastal zone management, as the coastal zone is facing the combined threat of climate change and ocean acidification. Both phenomena being a consequence of carbon dioxide emissions, ocean acidification is often referred to as the less-known 'twin of global warming'.
Inevitable and dramatic changes
Acidification will lead to unprecedented changes in coastal ecosystems in the course of the coming decades. With the current levels of global carbon emissions, this process of change is inevitable. In AcidCoast, researchers from Western Norway Research Institute (WNRI), Nordland Research Institute (NRI), Nord University, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) examine how sustainable governance of the coastal areas may help mitigate the negative consequences of ocean acidification.
Until today, scientists have hardly studied the process and impact of ocean acidification in coastal areas. Researchers from NIVA will therefore begin by measuring ocean acidification at two study sites – one in Lofoten in Northern Norway and one in Sunnhordland in Western Norway. Based on their findings, the researchers will be modelling the possible future effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems.
Involving stakeholders and communities
In order to make results applicable to stakeholders in coastal zone management, the researchers will seek to co-produce knowledge with members of the case communities, as well as representatives for fisheries, aquaculture, and other important industries in the case areas. The project will also cooperate closely with stakeholders in coastal zone management, e.g. through organising stakeholder workshops.
A cruise to measure sea water pH and carbonate saturation levels has been conducted both in the Sunnhordaland case and in Lofoten. In addition, the ocean chemistry team at NIVA will soon start training local users in Lofoten and Sunhordland in water sampling, so that the project will be able to monitor pH levels throughout the entire year, as there may be considerable seasonal variation.
Looking to Scotland
Through cooperation with The Scottish Association for Marine Science, a research institute located in Oban (UK), the project will allow for comparisons across coastal management systems in Scotland and Norway. Researchers from Nordland Research Institute, Western Norway Research Institute and Nord University, in cooperation with stakeholders from governance institutions, will also develop models for adaptive coastal zone management that allow for a more rapid response to ocean acidification and other expected changes in the coastal zone.