An updated synthesis of the impacts of ocean acidification on marine biodiversity

8 October 2014

Published as part of its Technical Series (no 75) by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the report draws on modelling, laboratory and field studies by the £12m UK Ocean Acidification Research Programmewww.oceanacidification.org.uk (UKOA), co-funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Through the UKOA programme, NERC and its partners are gaining an understanding of how marine life is responding to the challenges ocean acidification presents, and in turn the research is helping NERC to find solutions to make the ocean, and the economy around it, more resilient.

Dr Sebastian Hennige, lead editor of the report, said: “Our work in the north-east Atlantic has given us a much better appreciation of the vulnerability of cold-water corals. There is a risk that their habitat will literally dissolve away, since living corals grow on structures made by their dead ancestors. These structures will be subject to chemical erosion over very large ocean areas if current trends continue.”

Prof Murray Roberts, co-editor of the report and co-ordinator of the University’s new Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology, said: “At the end of the day, the only way to deal with ocean acidification is to reduce CO2 emissions. But for this to happen people first need to be aware that ocean acidification is an important issue, and having it high on the CBD agenda is a huge step forward.”

For more information, go to: www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-75-en.pdf