Ocean and Estuarine Acidification (CMSS 6358)

Course Description

This course focuses on introducing the concept of acidification of marine ecosystems (oceans and estuaries) and biological, biogeochemical as well as ecological responses to the acidification; the geological past will also be examined in the context of current ocean acidification. Numerical simulations using the software CO2SYS and interpretation of open-access global databases on global ocean and estuarine acid-base dynamics will be introduced in this class.

This course is open to a broad audience of undergraduate students in the College of Science and Engineering, who are interested in understanding the mechanisms of ocean and estuarine acidification as well as its biological and ecological consequences in the changing ocean. Primary audience will be students in programs with background of chemistry, biology, and environmental science.

This course is offered every spring semester starting from Academic Year 2018-2019.


CHEM 1411 and CHEM 1412 or their equivalents.

Textbook(s) and Reading Materials

A computer software CO2SYS (MS-Excel version, http://cdiac.ess-dive.lbl.gov/ftp/co2sys/) is required to use in numerical simulations and calculations of ocean and estuarine water carbonate chemistry.

Gattuso, J.-P., Hansson, L. 2011. Ocean Acidification. Oxford University Press, Oxford, p. 408.

Zeebe, R.E. and Wolf-Gladrow, D. 2001. CO2 in Seawater: Equilibrium, Kinetics, Isotopes. Elsevier, p.346p.

Special issues of the journal Oceanography (the 2009, 2015 issues related to ocean acidification), review articles from various journals, as well as most recent research papers will be used. See Bibliography for a complete list.

Course Outline

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Basic CO2 Chemistry in Seawater

Week 3: Carbonate Producers

Week 4: Using the CO2SYS Program to Explore Seawater Carbonate Chemsitry Changes

Week 5: Paleo Carbon Cycle and Past Analogues of Ocean Acidification

Week 6: Seawater Buffer Primer

Week 7: Estuarine CO2 Chemistry and Acidification

Week 8: Time-Series and Instrumentation for Ocean Acidification Studies

Week 9: Ecological Stoichiometry And Nutrient Cycle Uncer Ocean Acidification

Week 10: Biological Calcification Under Ocean Acidification

Week 11: Carbonate Sediment Under Ocean Acidification

Week 12: Ocean Acidification and Multi-Stressors in Marine Environment

Week 13: Mitigation Schemes Related to Ocean Acidification


The list of references and reading materials can be found here.


This course wais created under the funding provided by the National Science Foundation (OCE#1654232).