Efforts to help increase the capacity of scientists in the Pacific islands to measure ocean chemistry has culminated in a partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Ocean Foundation (TOF) and the Global Ocean Acidification Observation Network (GOA-ON) through the “GOA-ON in a Box” program.
This program grants a set of laboratory and field equipment to chosen applicants, expanding carbonate chemistry monitoring in developing nations in support of three high level goals; 1) to improve our understanding of global ocean acidification conditions; 2) to improve our understanding of ecosystem response to ocean acidification; 3) and to acquire and exchange the data and knowledge necessary to optimize the modeling of ocean acidification and its impacts.
SPREP, through the New Zealand Pacific Partnership on Ocean Acidification (PPOA), is committed to strengthening Pacific Islands’ capacity to collect and report data for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicator 14.3.1: Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations.
This indicator measures global progress towards SDG 14.3: Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels.
SPREP hosted a web meeting following several different training activities over the past two years, to establish a Pacific islands’ regional hub for the “GOA-ON in a Box” recipients to help strengthen regional collaboration, the Pacific Islands and Territories Ocean Acidification network (PI-TOA).
In 2017, a “GOA-ON in a Box” inception workshop was held at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, introducing “GOA-ON in a Box” recipients from seven Pacific island countries to techniques for monitoring ocean acidification.
This year in August, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa hosted the Pacific Islands Advanced Ocean Acidification Monitoring Workshop to provide further hands-on training in ocean acidification monitoring techniques. This was supported by TOF, GOA-ON, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Acidification Program with funding by the US Department of State and the Swedish International Development Agency. The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the PPOA and SPREP, provided support for Tokelau to receive a GOA-ON kit and participate in ongoing regional collaborations.
At this training, eleven participants from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu further refined their skills in using the “GOA-ON in a Box” equipment, including iSAMI instruments for in-situ ocean pH measurement; CTD-Diver instruments for in-situ measurements of conductivity, temperature, and pressure; spectrophotometers for pH measurement of seawater samples; and titration apparatuses for determining the alkalinity of seawater samples. The Pacific island scientists were also trained in using co2sys software to calculate carbonate chemistry parameters and interpreting the data collected.
During the one week training, participants worked with trainers from the University of Hawaii and partners to create plans to strengthen regional collaboration going forward. They were introduced to the newly finished indicator methodology for SDG Indicator 14.3.1, familiarised themselves with the metadata and data submission requirements, and set the goal to create ongoing monitoring programs in their countries that can contribute data to the SDG 14.3.
“It is essential that long-term ocean acidification monitoring is undertaken to assess variability and trends and support assessment of impacts on marine ecosystems and services. Knowledge is needed in order to understand the current conditions and to help distinguish long-term anthropogenic acidification from natural variability. SPREP is pleased to support the building of Pacific island capacity to monitor ocean acidification,” said Dr. Robert Duncan McIntosh, Oceanography Officer of SPREP.
“To that end we are providing ongoing assistance for Pacific island nations to establish ocean chemistry monitoring plans and to report data in support of SDG 14.3. We can all learn from each other, and the PI-TOA provides a forum for collaboration for our region’s scientists as we move forward.”
For more information please contact Dr. Robert Duncan McIntosh, Oceanography Officer at [email protected]