AAAS meeting session – Acid-washed genes and altered ecosystems: biological tales of ocean acidification

Saturday, February 18, 2012: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM, Room 217-218 (Vancouver Convention Centre – West Building) — Posted on EPOCA: 19 Oct 2011


Often called the “evil twin” of climate change, ocean acidification results from fairly simple chemistry and yet has significant implications for marine species and ecosystems. While scientists have resolved the details of many of the physical and chemical processes related to ocean acidification, they have not yet built a parallel understanding of the future of marine ecosystems in a more acidic ocean. Acidification clearly interferes with the ability of some marine species to build shells and develop normally, but how do these changes in individuals translate to changes in populations, food webs, and entire ecosystems through both direct and synergistic processes? In this symposium, panelists highlight research on the effects of ocean acidification on key ecological processes (e.g., food-web dynamics) in the ecosystems most vulnerable to changes in pH: polar regions, coral reefs, and temperate upwelling zones. From tiny genetic changes to existing ecosystem-wide shifts in species dynamics to glimpses into the ecological future via models, these scientists are on the front lines of asking if and how marine species can adapt to a rapidly changing environment. In short, science from the fields of oceanography, physiology, genetics, ecology, and modeling is starting to paint a picture that small changes in ocean chemistry can cause big shifts in the ability of marine ecosystems to deliver the goods and services on which we depend.


Heather M. Galindo, COMPASS

Gretchen Hofmann, University of California

Heather M. Galindo, COMPASS

Richard A. Feely, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
and Christopher Harley, University of British Columbia


Gretchen Hofmann, University of California
Acid on Ice: Present Ocean pH Dynamics and Studies of Antarctic Marine Invertebrates

Sinead Collins, University of Edinburgh
The Future Is Now: Toward a Predictive Theory of Microevolution

Jason Hall-Spencer, University of Plymouth
Natural Carbon Dioxide Gradients Show Ecosystem-Wide Effects of Ocean Acidification

Chris Langdon, University of Miami
Multiple Threats of Ocean Acidification to a Life and Death Balance on Coral Reefs

Bruce Menge, Oregon State University
Impact of Ocean Acidification on Species Adaptation Across 11 Degrees of Latitude

Shallin Busch, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Scaling Potential Impacts of Ocean Acidification to the Ecosystem Level

AAAS Annual Meeting, 16-20 February 2012, Vancouver, Canada. Session web site.