Ocean Acidification Research Center at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center

Human activities are directly affecting coastal marine environments. One emerging environmental stress impacting both U.S. coastal systems and oceans worldwide is ocean acidification. Known as the “other carbon dioxide problem”, ocean acidification occurs as excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, making seawater more acidic and leading to a suite of changes in ocean chemistry.  The resulting ocean environment will fundamentally challenge many marine organisms and ecosystems over the next several decades. Due to a combination of unique ocean circulation patterns and our proximity to highly urban areas, southern California coastal systems are particularly sensitive and may be acutely vulnerable to this issue.

Scientists affiliated with the USC Wrigley Institute are conducting research and raising awareness aboutthis largely unknown problem, which poses a significant challenge to life in the seas and the health of the entire planet. The offshore location of the Wrigley Marine Science Center, based on Catalina Island, is an ideal location for ocean acidification studies as it provides easy access to open ocean water and excellent laboratory facilities.  Many Wrigley-affiliated researchers have the expertise and skills to address exciting, innovative and pertinent research questions that span the breadth of ocean acidification science: from genes to organisms to ecosystems; and from the present to the geologic past, and perhaps even to the future by developing predictive capabilities for understanding our changing oceans. We are rapidly acquiring specialized equipment and infrastructure that, paired with existing resources, will position USC’s Wrigley Institute to become a leader in this emerging field of ocean acidification research.


Affiliated Faculty:
Dave Hutchins
Lisa Collins