Ocean acidification a threat to coastal industry

Acidification of ocean waters can cause the extinction of crustaceans and other species along Norway's coastline, says Nord University Professor Grete K. Hovelsrud

Researchers want to know more about the process as well as find out how local authorities can better manage the coastal zone.

Nord University's Professor Grete K. Hovelsrud, Vestlandsforskning's Halvor Dannevig, and Richard Bellerby from the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) manage the research work. The project, called AcidCoast, has a budget of NOK 7.8 million, financed by the Research Council of Norway.

Acidic ocean waters 
Ocean waters are becoming more acidic, a problem caused by the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (Co2). There is increasing concern that certain coastal species are at risk of extinction, while other species become more populous, says Hovelsrud.

- We know that acidification of ocean waters has caused problems for crustaceans. They are not able to develop an exoskeleton. It is possible that acidification also causes algae blooms. Acidification of ocean waters has consequences for animal plankton and for the fish that survive on it, says Hovelsrud.

Limited knowledge
There is currently very little knowledge about ocean acidification in coastal waters, and even less about the consequences for sea life. 

The research project aims to find out more about coastal management and how it can better reduce the negative effects of ocean acidification on sea life and coastal industry.



Lofoten and Hardanger
NIVA plans to measure the degree of acidification in the ocean waters in Hardanger and Lofoten. Field research begins in summer. Because the goal is better coastal management, researchers will work closely with industry partners. 

Experience from Scotland
The research will compare experience from Scottish management of coastal zones with the situation in Norway.

The research project will recommend new management models for local authorities' management of coastal zones.
- The idea is that the new, adjusted models will put coastal authorities in a position to respond quickly to acidification and other changes within the coastal zone, says Hovelsrud.