NC Workshop

Workshop Report

The Southeast Ocean and Coastal Acidification Network (SOCAN), in conjunction with North Carolina Sea Grant and the Ocean Conservancy, held a one-day acidification stakeholder workshop in Morehead City, NC on October 27, 2017.  Ocean and coastal acidification are changing the chemistry of seawater with potential effects for economically important marine life and coastal communities. Land-use change, runoff pollution and a vibrant shellfish industry render North Carolina among the most socioeconomically vulnerable states to future acidification impacts. An understanding of these factors can lead to the development of the tools necessary for coastal industries and ecosystems to mitigate and adapt to these changes.

Acidification in North Carolina

Total Social Vulnerability to Acidification (Ekstrom et al. 2015)

Human activities are causing increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. At least one-third of this CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, where it changes the chemistry of seawater.  Additionally, changes to carbonate chemistry from land-based inputs is called coastal acidification. This can occur through either increases in nutrients, causing eutrophication, or increases in freshwater runoff, which reduces the ability of seawater to buffer against changes in acidity. North Carolina is particularly vulnerable to coastal acidification.

Coastal ecosystems are dynamic and nearshore variability makes understanding these changes in chemistry difficult.  While we know coastal organisms are well-adapted to dynamic changes in chemistry, we don’t know if coastal and ocean acidification will push tolerances toward a tipping point. Larval oysters are especially at risk.  High economic sensitivity and low adaptive capacity combine to make North Carolina one of the most socially vulnerable U.S. states to acidification. (Ekstrom et al. 2015).

The SOCAN NC Stakeholder Workshop will bring scientists, stakeholders, managers and educators together to discuss what we know, what we don’t know, and ideas for moving acidification research and monitoring forward.


  • Introduce coastal and ocean acidification and discuss potential impacts with stakeholders;
  • Gauge stakeholder concern over the prospect of acidification as it relates to other water quality issues;
  • Understand how stakeholders adapt to and mitigate other issues of water quality, including co-occurring acidification;
  • Discuss opportunities for political engagement;
  • and form partnerships to move acidification monitoring efforts forward.


October 27, 2017
915AM-430PM, Lunch included


NCSU Center for Marine Sciences & Technology (CMAST), Room 205
303 College Circle
Morehead City, NC 28557

Suggested Hotel:

Beaufort Harbour Suites
313 Cedar St.Beaufort, NC 28516
(252) 728-3483