Understanding the long-term effects of ocean acidification through experiments in the field
Objectives of the project and its significance for the international scientific community
The objective of the eFOCE project is to develop, validate and implement experimental systems that enable scientists to investigate the long-term effects of acidification in situ on benthic marine communities – i.e. those organisms which live on or near the seabed. The project will be carried out in cooperation with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), which has recently developed a number of prototypes, and in partnership with several European laboratories involved in two projects - EPOCA and MedSeA - being co-funded by the European Commission. Over a 3-year period, the aim of the project is to develop and test systems which can be used in relatively long (> 6 month) experiments in the Mediterranean Sea. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of these systems and make them available to the international scientific community via an international network.
The research plan
An underwater instrument package comprising a pair of incubators will be constructed. One of them will serve as a control while the acidity in the second incubator will be controlled in real time to simulate the acidity levels projected for the year 2100.
The total project cost will amount to €1.2 million. A grant from BNP Paribas, in the amount of €650,000 contributes to the design, building and testing of the instrument.
The project will run for three years. The first two years will be devoted to development and testing of the instrument package. This package will be used during the third year on Mediterranean communities.
The eFOCE experiment ended in November 2014 with overall success. We developed an in situ system and we collected scientific data for many months under lowered pH. Publications are forthcoming.