UNESCO and IAEA Convene Symposium on Ocean Acidification
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16 October 2008: The second symposium on “The Ocean in a High CO2 World” convened from 6-9 October 2008, at the Oceanography Museum of Monaco, sponsored by, inter alia, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Committee of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO), and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) […]

16 October 2008: The second symposium on “The Ocean in a
High CO2 World” convened from 6-9 October 2008, at the Oceanography Museum of
Monaco, sponsored by, inter alia, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research,
the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Committee of the UN Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO), and the International Atomic Energy
Agency’s (IAEA) Marine Environmental Laboratory.

The meeting brought together
250 scientists from 32 countries to assess current knowledge on the impacts on
marine chemistry and ecosystems of ocean acidification, the ongoing decrease of
the oceans’ pH, caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere. Participants concluded that ocean acidification is accelerating at
an unprecedented rate, threatening marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of
tens of millions of people.
Topics addressed included: future scenarios of
ocean acidification; effects of changes in seawater chemistry on nutrient and metal
speciation; paleo-oceanographic perspectives; mechanisms of calcification;
impacts on benthic and pelagic calcifiers; physiological effects from microbes
to fish; adaptation and micro-evolution; fisheries and food webs; acidification
issues related to sub-seabed storage of carbon dioxide; economic perspectives
of ocean acidification impacts; and the connection between science and policy.
The symposium included invited and contributed talks, posters and discussion
sessions to address three key areas: natural and artificial perturbation
experiments to assess acidification; observation networks for tracking
acidification and its impacts; and scaling organism-to-ecosystem acidification
effects and feedbacks on climate. Scientists attending the symposium agreed on
the need for further research to understand the implications and impact of the
current acidification, and underlined that reducing carbon emissions would be
the only effective way to stabilize or reverse the acidification process. [Symposium Website] [UNESCO Press Release]

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