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Experts create first legal roadmap to tackle local ocean acidification hotspots
Date:5/26/2011

Coastal communities hard hit by ocean acidification hotspots have more options than they may realize, says an interdisciplinary team of science and legal experts. In a paper published in the journal Science, experts from Stanford University's Center for Ocean Solutions and colleagues make the case that communities don't need to wait for a global solution to ocean acidification to fix a local problem that is compromising their marine environment. Many localized acidification hotspots can be traced to local contributors of acidity that can be addressed using existing laws, they wrote.

In addition to Stanford University, the team of experts drew from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and Oregon State University.

"Since an acidification hotspot can negatively impact a community, its causes need to be tackled quickly," said Melissa Foley of the Center for Ocean Solutions, a lead author of the paper. "We identified practical steps communities can take today to counter local sources of acidity." The paper, entitled "Mitigating Local Causes of Ocean Acidification with Existing Laws," is the first to lay out how acidification hotspots can be reduced by applying federal and state laws and policies at a local level.

Coastal waters have a pH "budget" that can be pushed beyond its spending limits when local and atmospheric sources of acidity are combined. Many hotspots are driven by local sources of ocean acidification, such as agricultural and residential runoff and soil erosion, not just by atmospheric CO2 being absorbed into the ocean. "The alignment of a localized ecological harm with a local policy solution is rare," said Ryan Kelly of the Center for Ocean Solutions, a lead author.

Ocean acidification reduces the ability of marine creatures to create shells and skeletons, harming everything fr
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Contact: Karen Marvin
kmarvin@stanford.edu
650-492-1763
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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