Office of Research and Development Publications

Snohomish RARE project update for Tulalip Tribes


Pacella, S. Snohomish RARE project update for Tulalip Tribes. Tulalip Marine & Nearshore Work and Climate Change Meeting, Tulalip, WA, March 09, 2017.


This presentation is part of an informal meeting with the Tulalip Tribes of Tulalip, WA to update them on the progress of the ORD/Region 10 RARE project in the Snohomish estuary to study drivers of coastal acidification. Multiple processes, including primary production and respiration, river runoff, cultural eutrophication, oceanic upwelling, and atmospheric exchange contribute to the characteristically dynamic carbonate conditions in these habitats, with potential interactions amongst these processes leading to coastal acidification. As a result, the impact of coastal acidification to productive, nearshore estuarine environments remains poorly characterized, despite these areas being some of the most economically, ecologically, and culturally important habitats in the marine waters. Local nutrient inputs have the potential to exacerbate coastal acidification by stimulating enhanced production of organic matter, and subsequent increases in local respiratory CO2 release. Quantifying baseline biological rates and habitat-specific carbonate chemistry dynamics is necessary to attribute any additive/synergistic effects of anthropogenic nutrient inputs to the system in contributing to coastal acidification. This study is the first publication from the RARE project with Region 10, and provides the necessary foundation for upcoming analyses to attribute the impact of local nutrient inputs on carbonate chemistry dynamics of the seagrass habitat.


Rising atmospheric CO2 due to anthropogenic emissions alters local atmospheric gas exchange rates in estuaries, causing alterations of the seawater carbonate system and reductions in pH broadly described as coastal acidification. These changes in marine chemistry have been demonstrated to negatively affect a variety of coastal and estuarine organisms. The naturally dynamic carbonate chemistry of estuaries driven by biological activity, hydrodynamic processes, and intensive biogeochemical cycling has led to uncertainty regarding the role of rising atmospheric CO2 as a driver in these systems, and the suggestion that altered atmospheric exchange may be relatively unimportant to estuarine biogeochemistry. In this presentation, we illustrate how rising atmospheric CO2 from 1765 through 2100 interacts with the observed local carbonate chemistry dynamics of a seagrass bed, and calculated how pHT, pCO2, and Ωaragonite respond.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 03/09/2017
Record Last Revised: 03/16/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 335763