JULY 2018 NEWSLETTER
NEWS FROM THE SOUTHEAST:
ACIDIFICATION IN THE U.S. SOUTHEAST:
A WATER QUALITY PROBLEM
Awareness for ocean acidification is on the rise but did you know there are many other ways carbon dioxide can increase and pH can decrease in coastal waters? Ocean acidification refers to the chemical changes that occur as the oceans absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide but coastal ecosystems are dynamic. Nutrient and pollution runoff can also lead to increased CO 2, changes to land use (e.g. paved surfaces) can increase delivery of low pH freshwater to coastal ecosystems, and changes to temperature can have a big role in coastal acidification. As we consider long term trends in coastal ecosystems, it's important to remember the different mechanisms of acidification as well as the existing variability organisms in these ecosystems experience. Dive deeper into coastal acidification mechanisms below!
RUNOFF & EUTROPHICATION

Pollutants and nutrients can enter coastal waterways from fertilizers, farms and livestock operations. When excess nutrients enter the waterways they can cause large blooms in algae. This is called eutrophication. Blooms will then decompose, often leading to local increases in carbon dioxide and decreases in pH.

Learn more about the linkages between eutrophication and coastal acidification:
LAND USE CHANGE & FRESHWATER DELIVERY
The U.S. Southeast is one of the most rapidly growing regions in the nation, resulting in increased development in coastal areas. Impervious surfaces-or surfaces that do not absorb water (e.g. concrete)- are leading to stormwater management problems and flooding. Furthermore, the U.S. Southeast is likely to see more heavy precipitation events with climate change. Less freshwater absorbed by natural ground cover means more freshwater into coastal waterways. Freshwater is more acidic than seawater and also reduces the ability of coastal waters to buffer against changes in pH. Impervious surfaces can also enhance pollution and nutrient delivery into waterways.

Learn more about the linkages between freshwater delivery and coastal acidification:

CHANGES TO TEMPERATURE

Recent research has shown that warming can play a significant role in increased carbon dioxide concentrations in coastal waters from enhanced breakdown of organic material and increases in community respiration. This could play a big role in coastal acidification of the productive estuaries of the U.S. Southeast.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

The impacts from coastal acidification may be more imminent to the U.S. Southeast region than the impacts of acidification from atmospheric carbon dioxide. We must consider these changes along with the existing chemistry dynamics in coastal ecosystems. Next month, we'll discuss how long term trends interact with high variability in coastal ecosystems and what this means for our coastal resources!
ADDITIONAL NEWS FROM SOCAN:
SOCAN HAS A NEW WEBSITE! Change your bookmarks! We'll be working hard to bring you new resources and information specific to the Southeast region in the coming months.

SOUTH CAROLINA/GEORGIA STAKEHOLDER WORKSHOP SOCAN, in conjunction with Ocean Conservancy, will hold the next stakeholder workshop on July 27th in Charleston, SC. Registration is limited. Please contact Leslie Wickes (lesliewickes@secoora.org) for details.
SECOORA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ocean Acidification Program are facilitating the operation of the SOCAN to support and encourage discussions on ocean and coastal acidification in the Southeast region.