Our current economy, culture, livelihood, and sense of place are heavily tied to and dependent on a healthy ocean, especially healthy coral reefs. The continued increase in ocean acidification, due to high concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, threatens the health and survival of our coral reefs.
The current projections from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that by the year 2100, the average ocean pH is expected to decrease. With those harsh ocean conditions, organisms that rely on the delicate ocean chemistry for their calcium carbonate shells or exoskeletons will be more vulnerable and will not be able to form its shells. These organisms include corals, clams, starfish, crabs, and other shellfish organisms.
Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Programme (SPREP), an intergovernmental organization based in Apia, Samoa, conducted the first Ocean Acidification (OA) Dialogue in the region. PICRC was able to be the host venue for Palau for this two-day dialogue from May 06 to May 07, 2021. Partnering organizations and relevant government offices were invited to take part for the event, either by presenting or just learning about efforts of other Pacific Islands towards ocean acidification projects. Two research facilities here in Palau, PICRC and Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF), were able to present their current projects.
PICRC researchers E. Ikelau Otto and Victor Nestor presented their work on OA monitoring and shared important lessons learned from establishing an OA monitoring program at PICRC. Participants who took part in the dialogue were also introduced to the new PICRC Ocean Acidification Lab which is being set up with the support of Korea Institute of Ocean and Science Technology (KIOST) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This state of the art OA lab will allow PICRC to conduct continuous of OA and provide regional training on OA monitoring to raise capacity for OA monitoring in the region.

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