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Laura Ramajo (Chile), COP20, Lima, December 2014

"I was able to participate in the exhibition stand under the slogan HOT, SOUR AND BREATHLESS sponsored by the Plymouth Marine Lab (UK), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Scripps Institution of Oceanography and CMBC (USA), and Centro de Investigación e Innovación para el Cambio Climático (CIICC) of Universidad Santo Tomás (Chile). Delegates and observers from around the world heard about how the increase in atmospheric CO2 is warming, acidifying and de-oxygenating the oceans with the respective ecologic, social and economic consequences."

Latin-American Workshop on Ocean Acidification (LAOCA), 9-16 November 2014, Conception, Chile

Workshop summary

The Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC), the Millennium Institute of Oceanography, and the Center for the Study of Multiple-Drivers on Marine Socio-Ecological Systems (MUSELS) at the Universidad de Concepción sponsored and coordinated an ocean acidification workshop from November 9-16, 2014 at the Universidad de Concepción Field Station, Dichato, Chile. Nineteen students from 7 Latin American countries (Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Mexico and Columbia) participated. Students ranged from those who were in the process of obtaining their Masters or PhD degrees, postdoctoral students, and researchers/faculty. Students represented multiple sub-disciplines of biology and chemistry in oceanography.

Seven instructors (Drs. Lisa Robbins, Andrew Dickson, Cristian Vargas, Nelson Lagos, Sam Dupont, Jose Martin Hernandez-Ayon, and Helen Findlay) provided information on: the CO2-system chemistry of ocean acidification and how to measure it; instrumentation and tools available for conducting ocean acidification research; and designing and implementing experiments to measure the impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms and communities.

This workshop was organized to be interactive and combined lectures, practicals, and group assignments to enhance different learning styles.

Lectures and assignments

Nine lectures were given (available as PowerPoints and pdfs). These ranged from more traditional lectures to less structured discussions according to the topic.

The first two days of the course focused on the basics of the CO2 system and its measurement, instrumentation available for measuring seawater chemistry parameters, and examples of how to use software packages used to calculate CO2 system parameters.

The next three days focused on key aspects of ocean acidification experimental design, such as manipulation of seawater chemistry, biological perturbation approaches, and lab- and field-based methods for measuring organism calcification and other physiological responses to seawater chemistry changes (including isotopic techniques).

Afternoon sessions were used to demonstrate equipment and techniques/tools to students.

For approximately three days, students were divided into two groups and participated in group assignments that focused on designing biological experiments using echinoderm and gastropod larvae. The outcomes of the experiments were presented by the groups on the last day and were “gently critiqued” by the lecturers and other students.

Feedback from beneficiaries

"[...] The Latin-American Workshop on Ocean Acidification was a successful event, with many interactions at the academic and personal level. The invited lectures were awesome, with great experience and knowledge in different fields related to OA and climate change biology. I got an important input and learning of seawater chemistry in the OA context, methods and pitfalls during experimental designs using CO2 sources to change the water chemistry of the experiments and to collect data of the field. [...] The combination of the different experiences of the lectures and the practical-theoretical activities was a perfect approach for the learning and consolidation of our interests as part of the LAOCA network." Juan Diego Gaitan Espitia, Chile