Over the last decade, scientists in the Mid-Atlantic region and around the world have devoted increasing attention to exploring the potential impacts of ocean and coastal acidification. Since this is a new field of study worldwide, it remains to be seen to what extent ocean and coastal acidification will impact the marine food web. As ocean and coastal acidification continues to increase, scientists, natural resource managers, and industry partners will need to work together to strengthen the science of ocean and coastal acidification as a basis for sound decision-making and action. In light of this emerging problem, MARCO launched the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network (MACAN) in the fall of 2016 in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS).

MACAN works to develop a better understanding of the causes of estuarine, coastal, and ocean acidification, predict the impacts to marine resources, and devise ways that local communities and industries can prevent and/or decrease the negative impacts caused by acidification. MACAN is a group of scientists, federal and state agency representatives, resource managers, and affected industry partners dedicated to coordinating and guiding regional science of ocean and coastal acidification.

The recently certified Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan called for the formation of a consortium that would guide the development of a comprehensive ocean acidification monitoring system for the region. MACAN will serve as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body’s work group for this task, labeled in the Plan as Healthy Ocean Ecosystems Action 3.

MACAN was established to serve as an information exchange and to identify vulnerabilities and research needs. It is a cooperative regional network that fosters collaboration to advance mutually agreed upon goals and objectives. The Network seeks to make more effective use of limited resources by focusing those resources on the highest regional priorities and reducing duplication of effort.

A diverse Steering Committee of 15 individuals guides MACAN efforts. The Steering Committee developed a terms of reference document to describe the basic expectations for MACAN and its Steering Committee. These Terms of Reference describe: a) what this Network means to its members, b) why it was established, c) how the Network works together, and d) what principles underlie this Network. MACAN objectives, as expressed in the terms of reference are:

  • Develop a regionally relevant education/outreach engagement strategy and information website
  • Provide an information hub to share acidification resources in the Mid-Atlantic
  • Provide an information hub to connect researchers and share research
  • Provide a forum to share best practices in monitoring and sample collection
  • Develop a list of regionally impacted species and identify regional research gaps 
  • Help address the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan’s Healthy Ocean Ecosystem Action #3

MACAN is currently conducting a webinar series with installments currently scheduled each month through March, and is planning a workshop for the spring. If you are interested in keeping apprised on MACAN work and joining the listserv/membership list, please contact Kaity Goldsmith at kgoldsmith@midatlanticocean.org.