Ocean Acidification Symposium 2011

Return to Our Northwest: Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is a worldwide phenomenon that may prove especially problematic in Puget Sound. Roughly one-third of the 77 million tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere every day is absorbed by the ocean. Here, it reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid, making seawater progressively more corrosive, affecting the survival of shell-forming organisms such as clams and oysters, as well as corals and many kinds of zooplankton.

In November 2011, Washington Sea Grant hosted the Symposium on Ocean Acidification at the Center for Urban Horticulture, University of Washington, Seattle. At the symposium:

  • Bill Dewey, Policy and Communications Director of Taylor Shellfish Farms, shared stories from the “front lines” — where shellfish growers are striving to understand and adapt to a more acidic future.
  • An expert scientific panel, moderated by marine geochemist Richard Feely, discussed the impact of ocean acidification on the primary and secondary producers that form the base of the Pacific Northwest marine food web.
  • Brian Baird, former U.S. Congressman (WA-03) and author of the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act, led a panel of policy experts addressing the political challenges and opportunities presented by Ocean Acidification.
  • The event closed with a reception, at which participants interacted with speakers and each other over light refreshments (cash bar).

Further Information

For more information, see the symposium’s agenda. In addition, PDFs of the speaker presentations* are available:

*All presentation material was made available with permission of the authors.

In conjunction with the symposium, KUOW interviewed Brian Baird and Richard Feely about ocean acification: