Climate change and ocean acidification are linked, emerging challenges for human and ocean ecosystems. Climate change refers to change in global patterns of the atmosphere and ocean, while ocean acidification is the decline in ocean pH and related variables. Both effects are due in large part to the buildup of anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mainly resulting from burning fossil fuels. Research on those topics includes everything from determining the magnitude of observed and expected change to specific human and environmental impacts, to policy solutions.

Faculty active in this research area:

Please see individual faculty web pages for more about their work in this area.

Related SMEA courses:

  • SMEA 500: Human Dimensions of Global Change
  • SMEA 510: Topics in Marine Ecology
  • SMEA 521: Governmental Responses to Global Climate Change
  • SMEA 550: Marine Social-Ecological Systems
  • SMEA 591: Marine Science in the Coastal Zone

Examples of what MMA students do in this research area:

  • assess impacts of climate change on marine and coastal ecosystems
  • explore the potential role of oceans in climate mitigation through carbon capture and storage
  • study emerging strategies for climate change adaptation at local to global scales
  • explore efforts to mitigate and adapt to ocean acidification
  • assess the issue of sea level rise and extreme climate effects to the coastal and marine economy.

Examples of related MMA student theses:

  • Rogier, Thea. 2016. An Integrated Assessment of the Red Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) Fisheries in Southern California and Washington State: Addressing Sustainability and Vulnerability in the face of Climate Change.
  • Ziff, Dani. 2017. Climate Change Adaption by Washington State Agencies: implementation and Performance.
  • Cribari, Kelly. 2019. The Use of Environmental DNA for Understanding Changing Ecosystems: Monitoring Harmful Algal Blooms.
  • Dailey, Christopher. 2020. Regional and Climate-driven Factors Affecting the Migrations of Sockeye Salmon Smolts in Alaska.

Examples of related MMA student capstones:

  • McGrew, Scott; Coberly, Jerilyn; Cline, Michael; Brostrom, Sara; Brodbeck, Amy; Blair, Kathryn. 2017. Capstone: Future Implications of the 2015 Harfmful Algal Bloom-Induced Shellfish Closures in Two Fishery-Dependent Communities.
  • Vasquez, Charlene; Roubal, James. 2018. Capstone: Assessing Policy Approaches for Addressing Sea Level Rise in King County.
  • Sheng, Zuehing; Landahl, Erik; Kerber, Lauren. 2019. Sea Level Rise and Capital Facilities Investment.
  • Boylan, Chris. 2020. Capstone: Promoting U.S. Bi-coastal Collaboration to Enhance State and Regional Level “Knowledge to Action” Ocean Acidification Initiatives.

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