Engaging key decision-makers in the scientific research process


Ocean acidification (OA) has negative impacts on ecosystems, people, and coastal economies. Specifically, OA weakens shell-building marine organisms, which leads to consequences for commercially important species valued by many U.S. west coast coastal communities dependent on shellfish farming. Whether these communities succumb to these stressors, or adapt and thrive, will depend on various vulnerability and resilience factors. Resilience depends not only on the strength of ecosystems, but also on the ability of communities to cope and adapt. These human dimension questions in relation to ocean acidification are only now coming to light for California. The adaptive capacity of these communities, as well as the role of existing or future state ocean and coastal policies that would facilitate adaptation, will no doubt require a multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach that integrates both social and natural scientific knowledge and datasets.
The results and activities stemming from this collaboration will fill key knowledge gaps that, once addressed, will inform our understanding of how coastal communities may thrive in the face of rapid environmental change and support state-specific decisions and decision-making processes that may facilitate coastal community response, resilience, and adaptation to OA.

The Multidisciplinary Collaboration

Ocean Science Trust (OST) is partnering with and participating on a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Oregon State University (OSU), University of California, Davis (UC Davis), and San Diego State University (SDSU) to explore the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of coastal communities dependent on shellfish growing to the effects of ocean acidification. To achieve this goal, the research team will complete the following project activities across six (6) coastal communities in California and Oregon:

  1. Assess the vulnerability of resource-dependent communities to OA, drawing on ecological and oceanographic datasets, and collecting additional social science data to assess community sensitivity and adaptive capacity;
  2. Review factors driving coastal stakeholders’ ability to adapt to OA, including how stakeholders perceive and may respond to OA, paired with an analysis of existing policy instruments which may support present or future adaptive capacity; and
  3. Develop novel research project governance with continuous communication with policy-makers, end users, and stakeholders throughout, ensuring coordination with key decision-makers and translating findings into policy briefs for governing entities in California and Oregon.

Group members & reviewers

Dr. Ana Spalding, OSU
Dr. Erika Wolters, OSU
Dr. Tessa Hill, UC Davis
Dr. Arielle Levine, SDSU
Dr. Melissa Ward, SDSU

< Back