Ocean acidification sensors
Installation of ocean acidification sensor kit including training, support and service
Globally coral reefs are estimated to be worth ~$9.9 trillion and provide ~$325,000/ha/yr to local communities through tourism/recreation, fish habitats, and the protection of coastal regions against storm damage. Small Island Developing States are especially dependant on coral reefs. For example; the 2014 IPCC report estimating that at least 25% of the annual income of villages within Fiji are dependant on the nesting and spawning habitats provided by coral reefs, with the fishing industry accounting for ~17% of the country’s total exports (worth $96m in 2016). The tourism sector in Fiji is also largely driven by access to the coral reefs, thus there is significant economic interest in quantifying the vulnerability of these ecosystems to the effects of climate change through ocean acidification and warming.
This project aims to provide such vulnerable SIDS with the expertise and capacity to monitor their coastal waters for changes in ocean acidification, warning and pollution through the provision of high performance and low maintenance autonomous sensors. Deployment of this in situ monitoring infrastructure in strategic locations identified in partnership with local stakeholders will enable these states to monitor the conditions and stresses that their coral reefs are exposed, and will support their commitments to UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 by providing means to monitor nutrient pollution from land (SDG 14.1), and address the impacts of ocean acidification (SDG 14.3). Specifically, the project will:
- Install a self-contained, autonomous monitoring system capable of measuring pH (climate level quality), dissolved oxygen, salinity, temperature and nitrate/nitrite at depths of maximum 50 m. The system will include a satellite telemetry unit for relaying data offshore to a shared server, enabling the measurements to contribute to global observing systems/portals such as GOOS/GOA-ON. The autonomous monitoring system provided to each country will be custom designed so that it can (i) be deployed and retrieved by hand on small boats; (ii) be deployed on a mooring line or attached on the seabed or permanent structure; (iii) be powered by rechargeable batteries to reduce maintenance costs; (iv) use new reagent cartridges that minimise the need for specialist support or laboratory facilities.
- Conduct multiple in-state visits to assist local stakeholders in formulating their monitoring plans, identifying scientific questions and choosing potential monitoring sites, and to provide training in the deployment and use of the equipment plus data processing and reporting. Follow-up visits will be conducted to service the equipment, assess the effectiveness of the monitoring effort, and provide additional training as required.
Caribbean region (including Belize and Dominica) and Pacific region (including Papua New Guinea and Fiji)
Oct 2019A month long fieldwork campaign has begun in Belizean coastal waters which will enhance understanding of the sensitivities of these fragile environments to the impacts of both human activities and climate change. Dr Christopher Pearce, programme lead for the NOC, said “Belizean coastal environments are some of the most fragile in the world, and are facing a combination of challenges from both human and climate change factors. In collaboration with our Belizean colleagues we will be...
Sep 2019A study led by National Oceanography Centre (NOC) scientists, recently published in Frontiers in Marine Science, presents the first ever images of animals living below 4000 metres within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Kiribati, a remote island group in the Pacific. Industry-collected seabed photos revealed a high diversity, but low abundance, of complex animals. The majority of the observed seabed life was single-celled giant forams. This is comparable to similar...
Aug 2017The NOC's Dr Socratis Loucaides spent time in Fiji training staff and students at the University of the South Pacific on how to use their new NOC-developed ocean acidification and nutrient monitoring sensors ahead of the sensors' two- month deployment.