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The Western South Atlantic Ocean in a High-CO2 World: Current Measurement Capabilities and Perspectives

Abstract

An international multi-disciplinary group of 24 researchers met to discuss ocean acidification (OA) during the Brazilian OA Network/Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study (BrOA/SOLAS) Workshop. Fifteen members of the BrOA Network (www.broa.furg.br) authored this review. The group concluded that identifying and evaluating the regional effects of OA is impossible without understanding the natural variability of seawater carbonate systems in marine ecosystems through a series of long-term observations. Here, we show that the western South Atlantic Ocean (WSAO) lacks appropriate observations for determining regional OA effects, including the effects of OA on key sensitive Brazilian ecosystems in this area. The impacts of OA likely affect marine life in coastal and oceanic ecosystems, with further social and economic consequences for Brazil and neighboring countries. Thus, we present (i) the diversity of coastal and open ocean ecosystems in the WSAO and emphasize their roles in the marine carbon cycle and biodiversity and their vulnerabilities to OA effects; (ii) ongoing observational, experimental, and modeling efforts that investigate OA in the WSAO; and (iii) highlights of the knowledge gaps, infrastructure deficiencies, and OA-related issues in the WSAO. Finally, this review outlines long-term actions that should be taken to manage marine ecosystems in this vast and unexplored ocean region.

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Acknowledgments

This review contributes to the activities of the BrOA Network (funded by CNPq Nos. 481670/2010-6, 485967/2012-0, 311877/2013-3, 405585/2013-6, 482557/2013-3, 445506/2014-8; FAPERGS No. 2075-2551/13-7; FAPESP No. 2014/22273-1; CAPES No. 23038.001421/2014-30 and scholarships, Fundação Boticário de Proteção a Natureza No. 0956-20122) and resulted from Joint BrOA-SOLAS Workshop discussions that were held in Santos (March 21–22, 2015) as part of the Third International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans. We thank all 24 participants who collaborated during that period, particularly Arne Körtzinger, Cristian Vargas, David Osborn, Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Kirsten Isensee, and Silvana Birchenough, who provided considerable input. We also thank the supporters of the BrOA Network’s formation, including Andrew Dickson, Christopher Langdon, Ilana Wainer, Joan Kleypas, Lisa Robbins, and Libby Jewett, who encouraged and collaborated with us during the initial implementation of the network. R.K.P.K. and P.A.H. also thank CNPq fellowship grants.

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Kerr, R., da Cunha, L.C., Kikuchi, R.K.P. et al. The Western South Atlantic Ocean in a High-CO2 World: Current Measurement Capabilities and Perspectives. Environmental Management 57, 740–752 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-015-0630-x

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Keywords

  • Ocean acidification
  • Western South Atlantic Ocean
  • Marine ecosystems
  • Mitigation and adaptation
  • Ecosystem management