top of page

Ocean acidification on the West coast

Project Description

West Coast stakeholders, including fishers and shellfish farmers reliant on key economically and culturally important species, have already experienced adverse consequences of ocean acidification (OA) and other stressors. However, the human dimension of vulnerability and people’s capacity to adapt, particularly in highly resource-dependent economies, remains understudied. In times of changing ocean conditions, high levels of dependence on natural resources expose certain coastal communities to higher risks and vulnerability. Achieving healthy ocean ecosystems and coastal economies in state and federal waters requires cross-disciplinary work to understand what factors (environmental, economic, social, cultural) determine the vulnerability of coastal communities to environmental change, as well as the potential for developing strategies to adapt to these changes. People’s adaptive capacity in the face of environmental disturbance depends on community knowledge, networks, and practices, as well as institutional policies and strategies that support adaptation. This project assesses how shellfish communities in Oregon and California are experiencing environmental vulnerability to OA and what they are doing to adapt to OA and associated impacts; as well as evaluating barriers to and key factors for coping in different contexts that can help inform policies to foster and support more resilient communities.

Click here for a project summary


Lenfest -Geospatial Patterns and Species Impacts of Changing Ocean Chemistry on the West Coast

Read More

California Ocean Protection Council - The Geography of Stress: Impacts of Ocean Acidification Along the California Coast 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ocean Acidification Program - Assessing Community Vulnerability to Ocean Acidification Across the California Current Ecosystem

Read More


Kristen_headshot 2019 v2.jpg

Kristen Green

Kristen is a postdoctoral researcher at OSU, interested in how communities highly dependent on coastal resources might adapt and maintain resiliency in the face of climate change. Her postdoctoral research focuses on if and how shellfish farms and shellfish-reliant communities in Oregon are being affected by ocean acidification and other environmental stressors, and seeks to identify what these community groups are doing to respond and adapt to these changes and their associated impacts


Melissa Ward

Melissa Ward is a Post-doctoral Researcher at San Diego State University, working jointly with the team to assess the vulnerability of human communities to ocean acidification along the U.S. west coast, with the goal of understanding how these communities can be poised to adapt to a future of stressful environmental conditions. Through this project, Melissa seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary understanding of the oceanographic conditions that create stress, the biological impacts of this stress on coastal species, and the subsequent effects on human communities that rely on these coastal species.


Emily Griffith

Emily Griffith is a Masters of Public Policy student assessing adaptive capacity of coastal communities to the ongoing threats of ocean acidification. To do this, Emily is working on a case study discussing ocean acidification and marine policy through the story of abalone decline off the coast of California. As shellfish are an indicator species of ocean acidification, abalone can aid in enlightening the current state of our oceans. This project aims to tell a cultural story that will ultimately provide a cautionary tale helping to inform future marine policy applied to human dimensions and marine vitality.


Victoria Moreno

Victoria Moreno completed her Master of Public Policy degree at OSU in 2021, where she worked with the team to assess the vulnerability of human communities to ocean acidification along the U.S. west coast. Victoria focused on understanding how members of Oregon’s Dungeness Crab Industry perceive their ability to adapt to ocean acidification and other environmental stressors. Through the completion of interviews and in-depth policy analysis, Victoria demonstrated the importance of the inclusion of stakeholders when considering policy and management decisions.

bottom of page