Coral is particularly at risk from acidification and rising sea temperatures.

We are delighted to inform you that the Fourth WESTPAC Workshop on Research and Monitoring of the Ecological Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reef Ecosystems will take place in Phuket, Thailand, on 14–15 December 2017. Hosted by the Phuket Marine Biological Center, this workshop is being planned as a follow-up to the previous three workshops (19-21 January 2015, 26-28 August 2015 and 29-31 August 2016, respectively).

Through the previous three regional workshops, participants shared and reviewed various ocean acidification monitoring and research approaches, methods and techniques; committed themselves to developing a joint long-term programme monitoring the ecological impacts of ocean acidification on coral reefs in the region. Moreover, ocean acidification pilot sites were identified at the first workshop with a view to analyzing their current monitoring capacity, identifying common monitoring methods, and developing a set of consistent, comparable and cost-effective “Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)” for all pilot sites to monitor the ecological impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs.

Subsequently, expert lectures were provided at the second workshop to assist participants in developing their capacities on carbonate chemistry and laboratory analysis, monitoring protocols and techniques related to biological parameters, bioerosion, accretion and calcification, and biodiversity. Four Working Groups were thus established towards the development of regionally specific SOPs, respectively on Total Alkalinity, Spectrophotometric pH, Biology, and Carbonate Collection and Handling. A set of SOPs was drafted and tested at the third regional workshop through expert discussions, and hands-on practical demonstrations either in field or laboratory.

Building on past progress, the fourth workshop in December 2017 aims to:

  1. further examine, and finalize the regional SOPs for monitoring the ecological impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems;
  2. review the progress that has been made in the pilot sites, and further identify strengths, challenges and lesson-learned from the programme implementation in the past; and
  3. discuss the way forward, and develop an actionable implementation plan for the next phase.

Participants will be mainly invited from those who have been actively engaging in the programme development and conducting ocean acidification monitoring and research in the pilot sites. Other participants will be invited if they expressed their interests over the last intersessional period to join the network and develop collaborations.

To this end, I encourage you to confirm your participation, or nominate suitable scientists who are willing to actively join the WESTPAC ocean acidification effort. Again, they should have experience conducting ocean acidification related monitoring, and/or be able to lead and carry out ocean acidification monitoring in your countries for moving forward.

  • For applicants, who have been engaged in previous WESTPAC ocean acidification workshops, please submit completed Progress Report in the Template (Annex II: Implementation of WESTPAC Ocean Acidification (OA) Research and Monitoring in the Pilot Sites ), together with the application form ( ) and CV; and
  • For applicants, who have not yet participated in previous WESTPAC ocean acidification workshops, please submit Report in Template (Annex III: Ocean Acidification (OA) Research and Monitoring Status ), together with the application form ( ) and CV.

Given the limited financial resources available, a joint committee will be established for the selection of most suitable participants that would be provided with financial support. Updated information on the workshop will be made available, in due course, at the WESTPAC website (http://iocwestpac.org).

We would appreciate your prompt confirmation or assistance in providing detail of suitable experts from your sites by sending application form, CV and report duly completed to Dr Orathai Pongruktham at the WESTPAC Office (o.pongruktham@unesco.org) and Dr Somkiat Khokiattiwong (skhokiattiwong@gmail.com), with a copy to Ms Nachapa Saransuth (n.saransuth@unesco.org) before 22 October 2017.