Latest news on ocean acidification in Alaska
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Summer e-News

Ocean acidification detection capacity expands in the Gulf of Alaska

Projects include an ‘ocean-change’ lab in Kasitsna Bay (part of Kachemak Bay) and pH sensors near Juneau, thanks to two NSF grants to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Also, find out the latest on what we've been learning in Kachemak Bay.

Read the article

Meet Stephanie Mason

Stephanie Mason is the regional environmental coordinator for Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) and recently helped start a community sampling network for OA in the Kodiak Archipelago.

Read more

Working together: The Global Ocean Acidification Network

GOA-ON is an international effort to monitor OA, identify the drivers and impacts on marine ecosystems, and provide data to develop predictions. Currently, members from 96 countries are involved.

Check out GOA-ON 

Read the 2019 recommendations

Glacial outflow can exacerbate ocean acidification.  Why?

Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity to neutralize or “buffer” acids. When alkalinity is high, the buffering capacity of the water is high and the pH is less likely to change much, assuming other things are equal. When alkalinity is low, pH can be lowered more easily through the uptake of atmospheric CO2 (the driver of ocean acidification). 

Freshwater coming directly from glaciers is naturally low in alkalinity, as the water is close to its source. As the freshwater runoff enters the ocean, it dilutes the alkalinity of seawater and decreases its buffer capacity, making it more susceptible to ocean acidification. Alkalinity is only part of the story, and the role of alkalinity itself can vary depending on the oceanographic context (temperature, salinity, the amount of total CO2 already in the water, etc). The concentration of alkalinity can also affect the concentration of carbonate ions that are one of the building blocks that organisms use, along with calcium ions, to build their shells. 
As a result, nearshore areas near the mouths of glaciers are often more corrosive for shell-building organisms. Southeast and southcentral Alaska are home to large tidewater glaciers, and ongoing research is being conducted to determine baseline conditions and natural variability of seawater alkalinity. If these areas are already close to the biological threshold that could pose challenges for marine species, they may be considered particularly susceptible as our oceans take up more CO2 from human emissions.

What can pteropods tell us about ocean acidification in Alaska?

At the 2019 Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Nina Bednarsek gave a presentation overlaying ocean acidification modeling and samples from pteropods around Alaska.  Watch her 15 minute presentation.

Watch the video

Educating Alaskans on OA:
let us know your ideas!

If you have suggestions for events, audiences, or coastal communities that could benefit from ocean acidification information, let us know. The research community is committed to sharing the best available knowledge on this topic, and we can connect you with an in-person speaker, webinar or phone update, or print material.  Email 


The mission of the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network is to expand the understanding of ocean acidification processes and impacts in Alaska.  
Questions? Email Network Director Darcy Dugan,
Alaska Ocean Acidification Network
Alaska Ocean Observing System

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