86. Building capacities and bridging gaps on Ocean Acidification research for equatorial developing countries: Ecuadorian experience

Francisco Navarrete-Mier (1,a), Patricia Castillo-Briceño (1,b)

1 Equatorial Biome & Ocean Acidification – EBiOAc, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Laica Eloy Alfaro de Manabí – ULEAM. Manta, Ecuador.
a f.navarretemier@gmail.com
b pat.castillo.briceno@gmail.com

Background
Equatorial populations of marine species are predicted to be among the most impacted by global warming/Ocean Acidification (OA) because their local environments are very stable, so they are adapted to a narrow range of parameters. Although OA research is growing worldwide, the most of the research is located in high-latitude areas (polar and temperate areas). Therefore, there is a strong lack of information regarding equatorial areas (which are in general developing countries).

Methods
We started the project EBiOAc with the aim to establish a permanent program of research, education and divulgation on OA and related topics. We work out this aim through conferences, meetings, seminars and workshops to involve several sectors of society including: universities, public research centres, pertinent authorities, aquaculture organizations, general society and decision makers. We are also developing projects to evaluate the impact of OA on equatorial marine biota.

Findings
In general there is a very open reception to attend and discuss about OA and their social, economic and biological impacts, especially from productive and conservationist sectors. Although we still found some cases of academics that were not aware of the subject and even a few that denies OA existence. Moreover governmental dependencies are open to discuss and organize meetings, especially before COP21.

Conclusions
Climate Change receive great attention within the general society and generates publicity from governmental entities . Ocean Acidification, as part of the processes of Climate Change attracts attention and the public concern. However between the media coverage and the financial commitment for funding research there is big gap that delays the development of projects to implement mitigation actions. We propose as strategy: to work with productive sectors, to research on emblematic species and to rise awareness on the wide public, thus to reach the effective support from decision and policy makers.