Because of its potential impacts on ecosystem services provided by marine ecosystems, ocean acidification is a threat to food security, economies, and culture. Scientists can use models to project the potential progression of acidification in different regions, the impacts that these changes in chemistry may have on biological communities, and how these changes could affect ecosystem services from fisheries and aquaculture to protection of coasts by coral reefs. Understanding how ocean acidification will impact ecosystem services will allow informed decisions to be made about how we approach adapting to and mitigating the forecasted changes.
The OAP is funding the development and use of modeling tools to further our understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification on coastal fisheries. Scenarios of ocean acidification in food-web models allow us to better understand how changing ocean chemistry could affect the food web under study and fisheries embedded within it. Scientists at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center have explored the impacts of ocean acidification on North Pacific food webs and fisheries using two types of food web models (Ainsworth et al. 2011, Kaplan et al. 2010, and Busch et al presentation). Economic-forecast models can be used to analyze the economic impacts of changes in fisheries harvest. Alaska Fisheries Science Center scientists applied the survival rates of red king crab from their laboratory studies on ocean acidification to a bio-economic model that simulates the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery and used it to explore the implications of ocean acidification on the red king crab fishery.