In-situ climate and ocean acidification monitoring
The National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) is co-funded by NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and Ocean Acidification Program. The goal of NCRMP is to provide sustained and long‐term measurement of key variables to gauge the status and trends of coral reef health. The Acidification, Climate, and Coral Reef Ecosystems Team (ACCRETE) at AOML is leading the in-situ climate change and ocean acidification monitoring for the Atlantic Ocean in collaboration with NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in Seattle, Washington and the Coral Reef Ecosystems Division (CRED) of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. This includes monitoring of seawater temperatures and the progression of ocean acidification, as well as the ecological impacts of these variables, at key sites. This monitoring is being conducted at sites in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Flower Garden Banks.
ACCRETE and CRED work collaboratively so that efforts in the Atlantic and Pacific are aligned. NCRMP calls for three sentinel climate and ocean acidification monitoring sites in both basins. Sentinel sites in the Atlantic are established in La Parguera, Puerto Rico, at Cheeca Rocks in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and planned for the Flower Garden Banks in 2015. In the Pacific, a sentinel site is established in Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, with future sites planned for American Samoa and Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Each sentinel site has a moored autonomous pCO2 (MApCO2) buoy that measures the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) in seawater, temperature, salinity and pH every three hours and relays these data in near-real-time to the PMEL where they are publicly available online (http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/ Coral+Reef+Moorings). These efforts are part of and adhere to the data quality requirements of the larger Global Ocean Acidification Monitoring Network (GOAN: http://www.goa-on.org/). Some of the key ecosystem variables being measured at each sentinel site to gauge the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification are: 1) ecosystem and species-specific calcification rates; 2) calcium carbonate budgets; and 3) rates of bioerosion rates.