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  • Ocean acidification species exposure experimental facility


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Conservation Biology CB - Genetics and Evolution


Ocean acidification lab
Ocean acidification species exposure experimental facility
We have developed a unique facility for conducting high-quality experiments on marine organisms in seawater with controlled carbon chemistry conditions. The experimental system allows for the dynamic control of pCO2 and other environmental parameters, which enables us to mimic the natural patterns of variability in carbon chemistry that occur on diurnal and tidal cycles and with upwelling events and phytoplankton blooms. The system also provides control over temperature, dissolved oxygen, food delivery and photoperiod, allowing for experiments on multiple stressors. The relatively high water volumes in the system permit simultaneous experiments on multiple species. The laboratory requires constant uptake to maintain its function and will be modified as needed to support our research program.

Research Themes

Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
The California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, Puget Sound and the Columbia River Basin are home to a wide range of freshwater and marine resources that provide a wealth of ecosystem goods and services. Ensuring the resiliency and productivity of the California Current and Pacific Northwest ecosystems requires an integrated understanding of their structure, function, and vulnerability to increased human population growth in coastal communities and competing uses of coastal waterways and oceans. The NWFSC‘s approach to understanding these large ecosystems integrates studies across ecosystems (terrestrial, freshwater, and marine) and scientific disciplines to inform resource managers responsible for conserving marine resources.

Research Foci

Understand how climate influences ecosystem variability
Effective ecosystem management will require an understanding of how climate variability and climate change will alter riverine, estuarine, and marine habitats and consequently how this will affect ecosystem status, function and recovery. Key research elements include better understanding of historical ecological variability through traditional (i.e., indigenous) sources, exploring the vulnerability of key species and biotic communities to expected habitat changes, including decreasing stream flow, increased flood frequency, increasing stream temperature, sea level rise, ocean acidification, shifts in ocean currents, and changed frequency and extent of deoxygenated zones. A secondary goal is to improve understanding of how ecosystems respond to year-to-year and decadal climate variability. Achieving these research goals will provide NOAA and state and local governments with the knowledge and tools needed to incorporate climate change and variability into management of living marine resources.


carbon dioxide emissions
carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuel and changes in land use.
ocean acidification
change in ocean pH
water quality
Impact of excreted carbon dioxide and ammonia on survival and product quality


None associated


Class Actinopterygii
ray-finned fishes
Class Bivalvia
bivalves, bivalves and clams


Chris Harvey
Jonathan Reum
Michael Maher
Paul McElhany
Principal Investigator