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A-ICC Training Courses on Ocean Acidification
U.S. Geological (USGS) oceanographer Lisa Robbins serves on the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) Advisory Board and is chair of capacity building (https://www.iaea.org/ocean-acidification/page.php?page=2181). The OA-ICC works to promote, facilitate, and communicate global activities on ocean acidification and acts as a hub, bringing together scientists, policy makers, media, schools, the general public and other ocean acidification stakeholders.
A key component of the OA-ICC approach is capacity building (https://www.iaea.org/ocean-acidification/page.php?page=2197) through trainings and workshops, which provide students and scientists entering the field, in particular from under-resourced countries, access to high-quality training so they can set up pertinent experiments, avoid typical pitfalls, and ensure comparability with other studies.
OA-ICC-sponsored workshops and training on ocean acidification have been held all over the world, including Brazil, Chile, China, Italy, and South Africa. The events cover impacts of ocean acidification on coastal communities, provide exposure to fundamentals, standards, and experimental design within the field, and emphasize main topics such as: coastal communities dependent on fisheries and aquaculture; coral reef and marine-based tourism under environmental change; modeling of biological, economic and sociological impacts; potential societal action and adaptation; governments and legislation. In addition, they bring together participants from a range of different backgrounds including natural sciences, economics, sociology, industry, and government.
The last two capacity building workshops took place October 19–24, 2015, at Xiamen University in China, and November 1–7, 2015, in Cape Town, South Africa. The training included lectures as well as hands-on experiments in small groups. Participants were trained on critical topics including: the carbon dioxide (CO2) system and its measurement, instrumentation available for measuring seawater chemistry parameters, software packages used to calculate CO2 system parameters, and key aspects of ocean acidification experimental design, including manipulation of seawater chemistry, biological perturbation approaches, and lab- and field-based methods for measuring organism calcification and other physiological responses to seawater chemistry changes, including nuclear and isotopic techniques.
In addition to helping to organize the international workshops, Robbins presented information on instrumentation and available software, such as CO2calc that she and her team have developed and published (http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2011/03/research4.html). Data collected from different USGS projects on ocean acidification from the poles (http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/ocean-acidification/research/polar.html) to the tropics (http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/flash/) was used as examples and discussion points during the courses.
The workshops increased scientists’ capacity to measure and study ocean acidification and provided a rare opportunity for collaboration and networking among scientists working on ocean acidification across the world, as well as initiated and deepened connections with the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON; http://www.goa-on.org/). OA-ICC sponsored E-learning modules are now being developed from the workshop lectures by USGS volunteer/St. Petersburg Community College Science Teacher Sharon Gilberg and Robbins. These will be posted on the USGS website and, among other activities, will be used for pre-workshop preparation by participants.
The next OA-ICC sponsored workshops will occur in Mozambique, Africa (March 2016) and Mexico (Fall 2016), with additional workshops being discussed by the OA-ICC.
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