The future of ocean acidification and hypoxia in the central California Current: biophysical drivers and implications for living marine resources

Project Number
Project Date Range
Funding Agency
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Focus Area(s)
Education, Training and Public Information, Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

Ocean acidification and global oxygen decline are among the most concerning climate change-related threats to marine life. In the California Current System (CCS), the impacts of ocean acidification and hypoxia (OAH) are particularly pronounced due to natural exposure to lower pH and oxygen conditions during seasonal coastal upwelling. The nearshore CCS is home to highly productive and biodiverse ecosystems, which hold significant ecological, economic, and cultural importance. The region also harbors many commercially harvested and protected species, and includes a network of marine protected areas. It is important to understand how future OAH will progress at spatial scales that are informative to the management of marine natural resources and protected areas.

This project will use global climate projections to characterize the 21st century progression of ocean acidification and hypoxia in the California Current. Projections and analyses will be used to develop an interactive web tool, where the user can explore exposure to OAH conditions corresponding to a particular biological threshold. The web tool will be tailored towards management needs by including stakeholder feedback throughout the tool’s design. The analyses and web tool will address priority OAH needs by guiding monitoring investment, identifying OAH hotspots and refuges, and allowing resource managers to assess potential OAH-driven changes to habitat for species of interest.

Principal Investigators
Julia Cheresh
University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)
Co-principal Investigators
Jerome Fiechter
University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)

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