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Free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiments: scientific and technical recommendations for future in situ ocean acidification projects


Stark, JS and Peltzer, ET and Kline, DI and Queiros, AM and Cox, TE and Headley, K and Barry, J and Gazeau, F and Runcie, JW and Widdicombe, S and Milnes, M and Roden, N and Black, J and Whiteside, S and Johnstone, G and Ingels, J and Shaw, E and Bodrossy, L and Gaitan-Espitia, JD and Kirkwood, W and Gattuso, JP, Free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiments: scientific and technical recommendations for future in situ ocean acidification projects, Progress in Oceanography, 172 pp. 89-107. ISSN 0079-6611 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2019.01.006


Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) experiments are a relatively recent development in ocean acidification research, designed to address the need for in situ, long-term, community level experiments. FOCE studies have been conducted across different marine benthic habitats and regions, from Antarctica to the tropics. Based on this previous research we have formed some core operating principles that will aid those embarking on future FOCE experiments. FOCE studies have potential to provide important insight into the effects of ocean acidification that can add to or refine conclusions drawn from laboratory or single species studies because they are conducted in situ on intact assemblages. Scaling up from sub-organismal and individual effects to also include indirect impacts on the ecosystem and ecosystem services, make FOCE experiments essential in filling in current knowledge gaps in our understanding of ocean acidification. While FOCE systems are complex, relatively costly, and somewhat difficult to operate, the challenges they pose are tractable and they have proven to be a useful approach in ocean acidification research. The aim of this paper is to draw from the experiences of past FOCE experiments and provide practical advice for designing, building and operating a FOCE experiment. Some of the most important recommendations include: field testing the system design; having a backup power supply; using replicate treatment enclosures; monitoring and maintaining the chemistry appropriately; allowing sufficient time to achieve near CO2 equilibrium conditions; and having a scientific focus with a core set of hypotheses. Future FOCE experiments could focus on longer durations, multiple factors, and testing more intact benthic marine communities and ecosystems. We hope this paper will encourage further FOCE deployments and experiments, as well as provide some guidelines to improve future FOCE studies and advance ocean acidification research.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:field experiment, pH, marine communities, carbon dioxide, in situ studies, FOCE, ocean acidification, benthic habitats, multi-stressor, coral reefs, Antarctica
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Chemical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition
UTAS Author:Roden, N (Mr Nick Roden)
UTAS Author:Black, J (Mr James Black)
ID Code:137673
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2020-02-26
Last Modified:2020-04-30

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