Ocean Acidification Research Center

Ocean acidification (OA) is the result of anthropogenic increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide that is later absorbed by the ocean. This change in ocean chemistry makes the global oceans more acidic. Concerns over increasing acidity in Alaska and how this phenomenon will impact Alaska’s Blue Economy spurred the creation of the Ocean Acidification Research Center (OARC) within the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).

OARC map

Placement of this center in Alaska is critical to the state’s long-term interests because the region will experience the effects of ocean acidification faster and to a greater degree than in lower latitudes due to colder water temperatures, ocean circulation patterns, and highly productive continental shelves. These characteristics act to enhance the transport of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere into the ocean, which may accelerate acidification.

OARC Objectives

  1. Conduct research into OA, particularly in Alaskan waters, to determine the intensity, duration, and extent of OA around the state. We achieve this by long-term autonomous monitoring and modeling efforts, conducting field observations in highly sensitive areas, and quantifying physiological responses of vulnerable and commercially viable species.
  2. Serve the public and private sectors by providing access to OARC-generated data, training students and citizen scientists, and accepting seawater samples to be run at cost.

Celebrating 10+ Years of OA Research in Alaska!

OARC opened its doors in 2008 and we are proud to have served Alaskans for more than a decade now! OARC members have included three principal investigators, two postdoctoral scientists, six research employees, and nine graduate students. We look forward to ten more years of research to protect Alaska’s Blue Economy by continuing collaboration with the fishing and aquaculture industries, tribal governments, and coastal communities.

Thank you for your support!

We are very thankful to our funders for their support, including the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Coastal Marine Institute (CMI), Cooperative Institute for Alaska Research (CIFAR), National Atmospheric and Space Administration (NASA), National Park Service (NPS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), North Pacific Research Board (NPRB), Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC), and the State of Alaska.


Here are a few helpful links to learn more information about OA research in Alaska and around the globe.

For more information, please email oarc@cfos.uaf.edu or tweet us at @OARC_Alaska.

OARC is a member of the Marine Arctic Ecosystem Study (MARES) that won the 2019 Excellence in Partnership award from the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP). The award was announced in February 2020. The MARES project is an international, interagency partnership with more than 25 groups from federal, state, tribal, academic, and private groups in Alaska and Canada. The MARES project looked at more than 20 variables to understand the structure and function of the marine ecosystem in the Beaufort Sea. The MARES project was lead by Stantec’s Dr. Francis Weise. OARC deployed autonomous sensors to measure carbon parameters in the Alaskan and Canadian Beaufort Sea shelf near the Mackenzie River canyon.

See more information about the award.

OARC will be presenting collaborative work at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting. We pair our observations of ocean acidification throughout the state to the effects seen on culturally and commercially important species in Alaska like clams, cod, and crabs.

For more information, visit OARC at AGU Fall Meeting 2019.

The OceansAlaska shellfish hatchery in Ketchikan is now monitoring for ocean acidification (OA). »A partnership with OceansAlaska, the Ocean Acidification Research Center (OARC), the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), and lead project researcher Wiley Evans at the Hakai Institute were able to get the Burke-O-Lator instrument up and running. View the data stream.

Please check the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network site for more.

This week marks the launch of the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, an initiative designed to expand the understanding of ocean acidification processes and consequences in Alaska, as well as potential adaptation and mitigation actions. The network is the fourth regional ocean acidification network in the United States, and will help connect scientists and stakeholder communities, recommend regional priorities, share data, and determine best practices for monitoring.

The network is coordinated by the Alaska Ocean Observing System, with participation from government agencies, research institutions, nonprofits, industry, and local communities. The OARC has been honored to be a part of the launch of this new network.

For more information, please visit the» Alaska Ocean Acidification Network.