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Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Ecosystem Services

Abt Associates helped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Center for Environmental Economics develop an integrated ecological-economic model to estimate the economic impacts of ocean acidification on a global scale.

Abt reviewed and synthesized the current literature on the ability of the ocean to absorb anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and projected impacts of acidification on major oceanic ecosystems and species.

Based upon these findings, Abt designed a spatially explicit mathematical model that estimates the effects of ocean acidification and climate change on the ecosystem goods and services provided by coral reefs at regional and global scales. The model estimates the health and extent of coral reefs based upon ocean temperature, aragonite saturation state, species-level physiological feedbacks to these forcing mechanisms, symbiont diversity, and the possibility of evolution. We used the model output to drive ecosystem-level economic models which were then integrated into existing global economic models to estimate the social cost of carbon.