Climate Change and Marine Ecosystems

Ocean acidification
  • 17 – 22 July 2017


Climate Change and Marine Ecosystems

Ocean acidification

This five-day summer course aims to provide students with a systematic and comprehensive understanding of the impact of global climate change and the rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 on ocean ecosystems, with a particular focus on the three major impacts of ocean warming, ocean acidification and hypoxia.

Oceans play a vital role in the global carbon cycle by acting as a sink for the increase in atmospheric CO2 from fossil fuel burning and other processes. This adsorption of CO2 by the ocean reduces the level of atmospheric CO2 and some of this additional CO2 in the ocean can be taken up by phytoplankton, converted to phytoplankton biomass, and subsequently a small fraction of the fixed organic carbon can be transported and buried in the interior of the deep ocean via a process known as the ‘biological pump’.

The increase in atmospheric CO2 also causes in an increase in atmospheric temperature  (i.e. global warming) and the surface layer of the ocean due to the well known ‘greenhouse effect’.The warmer surface layer increases stratification which reduces the mixing of nutrients up into the surface and decreases the downward transport of oxygen to deeper water which enhances the occurrence of hypoxic deep water. The increase in CO2 in the surface layers also causes a decrease in pH and this process is termed ocean acidification. It has a profound effect on marine organisms and the integrity and function of marine ecosystems. Ocean acidification is a threat to corals, bivalves, etc. and it reduces calcification of calcifying phytoplankton and coralline algae.

In 2013, the first summer course in this series focused on the microbial food web dynamics under changing climates. This course will focus on the impact of global climate change, including warming, ocean acidification and subsurface oxygen depletion, on marine ecosystems, particularly microbial food web dynamics. Participants can expect daily lectures in the mornings and evenings, supplemented by workshops, tutorials, poster sessions, and demonstrations in the afternoon. With the small class size, special emphasis will be put on student-faculty interactions.

The course is limited to a maximum of 30 postgraduate or early career participants and will be conducted in English.

Applications through online system ( must be received by 13 June 2017.

A registration fee of HKD4000 will be charged upon successful application. Visa/Master card, cheque, wire transfer/TT and direct payment through Hang Seng Bank are accepted for the payment. Residential places in HKUST campus and meal coupons will be provided during the course period. Travel grant OR registration fee waiver is available for application upon the course director's approval. Please email for more details.

Course Schedule:

Course Poster:

Course directors

Professor Hongbin Liu

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


Professor Paul J. Harrison

The University of British Columbia

About your speakers

Professor Hongbin LIU

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Professor Michael Landry

Scripp's Research Institute

Professor David Hutchins

University of Southern California

Professor Fei Chai

Professor Shuh Ji Kao

Xiamen University

Patricia Glibert

University of Maryland

Professor Curtis Suttle

University of British Columbia

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