Lessons from two high CO2 worlds


Carol Turley OBE

Carol Turley

Senior Scientist (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK)

Talk title: CO2 and the Ocean: an increasingly important issue on global to local scales for governments and society

A sustained effort of knowledge exchange by scientists around the world has resulted in a growing understanding by policy makers of the vital and major role of the ocean in the Earth system; in absorbing >90% of the heat energy from global warming, ~27% of the CO2 emissions to the atmosphere and all the water from melting ice. These are resulting in rapid change to ocean physics and chemistry with increasingly high risk to ocean ecosystems and those dependent on them. This has resulted in major decisions to include the ocean and its ecosystems in UN goals and agreements for the first time. Here I will discuss some of them and why they are important.


Dr Carol Turley’s research has been centred on the ocean’s biogeochemical cycles looking at habitats from shallow and deep-sea sediments, estuaries, frontal systems to large enclosed waters.

In the last 10 years she became interested in ocean acidification and was a member of The Royal Society Working Group on ocean acidification and a Lead Author on the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report on Climate Change and a Review Editor for the 5th IPCC Assessment Report. She was a UK nominated expert at the scoping meeting for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, the Ocean and the Cryosphere in 2016. She was/is a member of the Executive Board of the EU funded European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA), the EU funded Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a Changing Climate (MedSeA) project and is the Knowledge Exchange Coordinator for the UK Ocean Acidification (UKOA) Research Programme funded by NERC, Defra and DECC. She is a member of the SOLAS-IMBER Ocean Acidification Working Group, chairs the Advisory Board for the Ocean Acidification-International Coordination Centre at the IAEA, Monaco and is a founding member of the international Ocean Acidification Reference User Group. She is a member of the international Science Advisory Boards for the German and US national ocean acidification programmes.

Dr Turley has contributed to stakeholder or policy targeted publications with MCCIP, WMO, The World Bank, UNEP, IUCN, IAEA and IOC-UNESCO. She has given evidence to the UNFCCC SBSTA in Bonn and since 2009 presented at side-events at the annual UN Conferences on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) culminating in the latest one in Marrakech in 2016 (COP22), at the Earth Summit Rio+20 in 2012, at the UN in New York in 2013 and the Convention on Biological Diversity COP in S. Korea in 2014. She spoke at the Ocean Acidification Panel, at the Our Ocean Summit at the US State Department in 2014 attended by Heads of State from 80 countries.

She briefs a wide range of interested global stakeholders including UK Government departments, Ministers and Chief Scientists on the latest science of ocean acidification, warming and deoxygenation and has presented in the Houses of Parliament and European Parliament. She has published and presented on a wide range of topics within the field of ocean acidification, ranging from its cause, chemistry, impacts and the potential social, economic and political consequences. She has over 130 peer reviewed publications and has been an invited speaker at numerous international conferences. She received an OBE for services to science in the 2011 New Year’s Honours List.

Christopher Good

Christopher Good

Director of Aquatic Veterinary Research (The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute, USA)

Talk title: Assessing the impacts of dissolved carbon dioxide in intensive water recirculation aquaculture

With high feed loading and use of liquid oxygen in recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS), resultant production of dissolved carbon dioxide must be remediated to avoid its negative effects on fish physiology. Establishing safe limits for CO2 in salmonid RAS is an ongoing area of research, and the current state of knowledge in this area will be discussed.


Dr Christopher M. Good is the Director of Aquatic Veterinary Research at The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA. Chris is a native of Ontario, Canada and earned his M.Sc., D.V.M. and Ph.D. from the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph. Chris began work at The Freshwater Institute in 2007, and his research has focused on improving the sustainability of the aquaculture industry through enhanced health and welfare of farmed fish, with recent emphasis on Atlantic salmon grown to market size in closed containment water recirculation facilities. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and is a Certified Aquatic Veterinarian with the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association. He is involved in peer-reviewed and industry publications, lectures at conferences and workshops, and frequent interaction with government, industry, and private non-profit stakeholders.

Cory Suski

Cory Suski

Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (University of Illinois, USA)

Talk title: Carbon dioxide and freshwater fish: insights from barrier applications

Aquatic invasive species are a problem around the globe, and have the potential to negatively impact freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity. Preventing the movement and spread of invasive species is a more efficient strategy to minimize their impact than is attempting to remove them following arrival. For several years, our group has been working to use zones of elevated carbon dioxide to deter the movement of invasive fishes in the form of a non-physical barrier. Coupled with this barrier work has been a number of insights into how freshwater fishes respond to elevated carbon dioxide, and how freshwater ecosystems may respond should levels of carbon dioxide increase in the future.


Dr Cory Suski is an Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. He obtained his PhD from Queen’s University, and an M.Sc. from the University of Illinois. Dr Suski’s research program is focused on the conservation of aquatic ecosystems from natural and anthropogenic stressors, having previously worked on topics that include climate change, recreational angling and land use disturbances. The questions being asked by Dr Suski’s research team span from the level of genes to ecosystems, including both individual- and population-level responses.  His recent research has focused on how freshwater ecosystems will respond to elevations in carbon dioxide, as well as projects that use zones of elevated carbon dioxide to deter the movement of invasive fishes.

Göran Nilsson

Goran Nilsson

Professor of physiology (University of Oslo, Norway)

Talk title: Neurophysiological mechanisms linking high-CO2 with altered behaviour

In this talk I will outline our hypothesis for how elevated CO2, by altering neural ion gradients of bicarbonate and chloride, can interfere with the function of GABAergic neurotransmission. Recent results indicate that the COeffects may also trigger a vicious cycle involving maladaptive gene regulation of key components involved in GABAergic neurotransmission.


Göran E. Nilsson is a Professor of physiology at the University of Oslo. After a PhD (Uppsala University) on biomedical neurochemistry in 1988, he turned his research interests toward comparative physiology. Early projects involved disclosing the roles of monoamine neurotransmitters in social behaviour and stress reactions in fish. Another major theme continues to be to find adaptations that allow survival under extreme conditions, particularly anoxia. Here his focus was initially on the brain, and a key discovery was that increased GABA levels in the brain of anoxia-tolerant vertebrates lie behind neural depression and reduced energy use during anoxia. The studies on anoxia tolerant animals were subsequently expanded into respiratory and circulatory physiology. Studies on crucian carp led to the disclosure of gills can be reversibly remodelled to fit the oxygen needs, a heart that maintains full cardiac output in anoxia, and how an ancient genome duplication has allowed a pathway for ethanol production to evolve. Over the last decade, Nilsson has taken an interest in the physiological effects of climate change, often through collaboration with Australian coral reef ecologists. The temperature dependence of respiratory functions was shown to be very strong in reef fishes, and a worrying mechanism was discovered whereby the ocean CO2 levels expected in the future can alter animal behaviour by changing GABA-receptor function.

Philip Munday

Philip Munday

ARC Future Fellow (James Cooke University, Australia)

Professor Philip Munday is an ARC Future Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, at James Cooke University, Townsville, Australia. He has broad interests in the ecology and evolution of reef fishes. His primary research focuses on understanding and predicting the impacts that climate change and ocean acidification will have on populations and communities of marine fishes, both directly through changes in the physical environment and indirectly through effects on coral reef habitat. Using a range of laboratory and field-based experiments the research group he leads is investigating the effects of climate change on reef fish populations and testing their capacity for acclimation and adaptation to a rapidly changing environment. He has been studying the effects of ocean acidification on marine fishes for over 10 years.

Rod Wilson

Rod Wilson

Professor of Integrative Animal Physiology (University of Exeter, UK)

My fundamental research focuses upon mechanisms by which fish and aquatic invertebrates maintain homeostasis in the face of environmental variability (natural and anthropogenic). I am particularly interested in the physiological systems of respiratory gas exchange, salt, water and acid-base balance, excretion, digestion, and growth. At Exeter, we have been studying the physiological and behavioural impacts on finfish, crustaceans and shellfish of elevated (and fluctuating) CO2 associated with both global climate change scenarios, and those observed currently within intensive aquaculture. The approaches we use are aimed at helping to improve the sustainability of aquaculture as well as understand and predict the potential impacts of climate change-related alterations in the aquatic ecosystem. The latter includes the surprising role of fish in global ocean chemistry and biogeochemical cycles. This is through their intestinal production of high magnesium calcite (a mineral form of calcium carbonate), which is strongly influenced by environmental temperature and CO2.

Bill Dewey

Bill Dewey

Director of Public Affairs (Taylor Shellfish Farms, United States)

Talk title: Impacts of Ocean Acidification on United States West Coast Shellfish Aquaculture

Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish Farms in the United States will present on shellfish aquaculture on the West Coast of the United States, the impacts ocean acidification is having on his industry and what they and policy makers have done in response.


Since receiving his degree in shellfish biology from the University of Washington in 1981, Bill Dewey has worked as a shellfish farmer in Washington State.  He is Director of Public Affairs for Taylor Shellfish Farms, the largest producer of farmed shellfish in the United States and owns and operates his own shellfish farm in Samish Bay.

Bill serves on the Board of Directors of the National Aquaculture Association.  He served on Washington State’s Ocean Acidification Blue Ribbon Panel in 2011 and currently serves on the Washington Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC). MRAC advises Washington’s Governor Inslee and the legislature on the state’s response to ocean acidification.

Chris Harley

Christopher Harley

Marine Ecologist (University of British Columbia, Canada)

Talk title: Ocean acidification impacts: confronting complexity and context-dependence

Ocean acidification is a substantial threat to marine species and ecosystems, but its effects will range from subtle to substantial depending on the environmental context, the physiology and genetic diversity of the affected species, and the ecological relationships among species. Although ocean acidification effects may be difficult to generalise from one context to another for the purposes of scientific prediction or resource management, there are key attributes of systems that may make them more or less vulnerable and can serve as a starting point for anticipating future change.


Dr. Chris Harley is a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia, where he is cross-appointed in the Department of Zoology and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. His research program focuses on ecological responses to climate change - including ocean acidification, warming, and altered salinity – as it applies to invasive species, endangered species, shellfish aquaculture, marine food web structure, and overall biodiversity in the coastal marine environment. He and his students are particularly interested in multiple stressor effects, complex patterns of variability, and interactions among species.

Sam Dupont (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

More information to follow shortly

Grant Stentiford (Cefas, UK)

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