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A universal framework to measure the impacts of ocean acidification on marine life

Date: 31 January 2023

IOC/UNESCO's efforts to advance towards the Sustainable Development Goal 14.3 "Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels' involve its role as the custodian agency for the associated indicator 14.3.1, meaning that it is responsible for the compilation and sharing of global data on ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification is a significant environmental threat that is having a profound impact on marine life, including coral reefs, shellfish, and many other species. A lack of a global framework for measuring the effects of ocean acidification on marine life has made it difficult for the scientific community to effectively assess this issue.  

The publication of the new article "Unifying biological field observations to detect and compare ocean acidification impacts across marine species and ecosystems: What to monitor and why" by the GOA-ON Biological Working Group, supported by IOC/UNESCO, provides a global guiding framework for the scientific community to measure the impacts of ocean acidification on marine life.  It  proposes five broad classes of biological indicators that, when coupled with environmental observations including carbonate chemistry, would allow to observe and compare the rate and severity of biological change in response to ocean acidification globally.

Such a novel observing methodology allows inclusion of a wide diversity of marine ecosystems in regional and global assessments and has the potential to increase the contribution of ocean acidification observations from countries with developing ocean acidification science capacity.

Read the paper online: 



The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development.

About GOA-ON:

GOA-ON is a collaborative international network designed to address three goals: to improve our understanding of global ocean acidification conditions; to improve our understanding of ecosystem response to ocean acidification; and to acquire and exchange data and knowledge necessary to optimize modelling for ocean acidification and its impacts.