European Science Foundation (ESF) Science Policy Briefing #37 on the “Impacts of Ocean Acidification”

The European Science Foundation (ESF) Science Policy Briefing #37 on the “Impacts of Ocean Acidification” is available for download (or for request of paper copies) on the ESF publication webpage.


An ESF Science Policy Briefing entitled “Impacts of Ocean Acidification”, a joint activity of LESC and the ESF-Marine Board, was published in August 2009. It gives a comprehensive view from leading scientists in Europe and in the USA on this topic. Ocean acidification is the hidden partner of climate change. The increasing acidity levels currently observed could in the future reduce the oceans‟ capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. In addition, this reduced absorption will contribute to irreversible changes in ocean chemistry, with yet unclear implications for marine ecosystems and fisheries resources and the human communities that rely on them.


Much should be done at the international level to understand and tackle the challenges posed by acidic oceans in addition to those related to global warming. A series of key Recommendations for European Actions has been presented in order to fully understand the impacts of ocean acidification:

1) quantify further the biological and biogeochemical responses to ocean acidification from the organismal to the ecosystem level,
2) integrate natural and social sciences to help mitigate ocean acidification and develop adaptation strategies, taking into account the socio-economic impacts on natural resources and human communities,
3) ensure adequate and sustainable monitoring of key marine ecosystems and environmental services,
4) facilitate dissemination and capacity building to help deliver scientific knowledge-based advice to research funders and policy makers, to share best practices among researchers and success stories with the general public, and to raise the profile of this issue in future environmental change assessments,
5) coordinate and strengthen European research on the impacts of ocean acidification, including sharing of research infrastructure, resources and knowledge.

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