Science Inventory

Community Science for Coastal Acidification Monitoring and Research

Citation:

Gassett, P., K. O’Brien-Clayton, C. Bastidas, J. Rheuban, C. Hunt, E. Turner, M. Liebman, E. Silva, A. Pimenta, J. Grear, J. Motyka, D. McCorkle, E. Stancioff, D. Brady, AND A. Strong. Community Science for Coastal Acidification Monitoring and Research. Coastal Management. Taylor and Francis, Philadelphia, PA, 49(5):510-531, (2021). https://doi.org/10.1080/08920753.2021.1947131

Impact/Purpose:

Nutrient enhanced coastal acidification is an emerging concern in coastal systems. This process decreases concentrations of the naturally occuring carbonate ions in seawater used by commercially important shellfish for building shells. Coastal acidification impacts are affected by alkalinity, a component of the seawater carbonate system that describes the ability of substances in seawater to react with and neutralize acids. ‘Shell Day’, was a single-day regional water monitoring event coordinating alkalinity observations by 59 community science programs and seven research institutions in the northeastern United States. This project demonstrated that existing community-based water monitoring initiatives can help to address these challenges and contribute to coastal acidification science. Our results indicated that community science programs are capable of collecting robust scientific information pertinent to coastal acidification and are positioned to monitor in locations that would critically expand the coverage of current research. The need for standardized monitoring has been repeatedly identified in the northeast region and broad participation from stakeholders and public audiences has long been acknowledged as an integral component of contemporary resource management strategies. We describe an approach to training and supporting community science programs to investigate coastal acidification and share a process to orchestrate simultaneous measurements of total alkalinity at a regional scale.

Description:

Ocean and coastal acidification (OCA) present a unique set of sustainability challenges at the human-ecological interface. Extensive biogeochemical monitoring that can assess local acidification conditions, distinguish multiple drivers of changing carbonate chemistry, and ultimately inform local and regional response strategies is necessary for successful adaptation to OCA. However, the sampling frequency and cost-prohibitive scientific equipment needed to monitor OCA are barriers to implementing the widespread monitoring of dynamic coastal conditions. Here, we demonstrate through a case study that existing community-based water monitoring initiatives can help address these challenges and contribute to OCA science. We document how iterative, sequential outreach, workshop-based training, and coordinated monitoring activities through the Northeast Coastal Acidification Network (a) assessed the capacity of northeastern United States community science programs and (b) engaged community science programs productively with OCA monitoring efforts. Our results (along with the companion manuscript) indicate that community science programs are capable of collecting robust scientific information pertinent to OCA and are positioned to monitor in locations that would critically expand the coverage of current OCA research. Furthermore, engaging community stakeholders in OCA science and outreach enabled a platform for dialogue about OCA among other interrelated environmental concerns and fostered a series of co-benefits relating to public participation in resource and risk management. Activities in support of community science monitoring have an impact not only by increasing local understanding of OCA but also by promoting public education and community participation in potential adaptation measures.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT ( JOURNAL/ PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 07/26/2021
Record Last Revised: 02/16/2022
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 354127