The Atlantic Ocean Acidification test-bed (AOAT) in La Parguera, PR is an on-going project advanced by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. This project has served as a nexus of federal and academic monitoring and research related to assessing the impacts of ocean acidification on Atlantic coral reef ecosystems since 2008. The project unites an interdisciplinary team of investigators from NOAA, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPRM), University of Miami, Columbia University and the USGS.
Constraining the near-reef variability in carbonate chemistry across diel, seasonal, and annual scales is important in assigning potential biogeochemical thresholds to ocean acidification. Monitoring the effects of ocean acidification within the dynamic near-reef environment is challenging considering the only 3% decade-1 decline in Ωarg that has been experienced regionally [Gledhill et al., 2008]. Discerning these changes within a near-reef environment demands sustained high temporal robust autonomous monitoring. The Atlantic Ocean Acidification Test-bed in the La Parguera Marine Reserve, Puerto Rico offers the potential to provide such monitoring within an Atlantic tropical coral reef ecosystem.
A core objective in developing an autonomous OA network will be to provide near continuous monitoring of a suite of chemical, physical, hydrodynamic, and meteorological measurements necessary to provide for the monitoring of community-scale metabolic performance (net calcification, photosynthesis, respiration). The current test-bed provides a precursor of such a system whereby a Moored Autonomous pCO2 (MAPCO2, see image at top) buoy provides near-continuous carbonate chemistry along the forereef of Cayo Enrique. The autonomous observations are validated and supplemented on a weekly basis through a discrete sampling campaign conducted by UPRM. Discrete measurements obtained weekly by UPRM have been applied to both validate the autonomous observations and develop local algorithms capable of tracking carbonate chemistry at the reef in near-real-time.
To download a PDF of the most recent analysis of merged autonomous, discrete, and modeled time-series data from the Atlantic Ocean Acidification Test-bed in La Parguera, PR, click here.