The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) was established in May 2011, by the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FOARAM; 33 U.S.C. Chapter 50, Sec. 3701-3708) Act. This program works to better prepare society to respond to ocean acidification by fostering interdisciplinary research, monitoring, forecasting, and community outreach though both national and international partnerships. The OAP pursues science to improve our understanding of how (and how fast) the chemistry of the ocean is changing, how variable that change is by region, and what impacts these changes are having on marine life, people, and the local, regional, and national economies. In support of NOAA’s mission to understand changes in the world’s oceans, share that knowledge, and conserve coastal and marine ecosystems, the OAP plays an integral role in maintaining long-term ocean acidification monitoring; conducting research designed to to understand marine ecosystems sensitivity to acidification; promoting relevant educational opportunities; engaging in national public outreach activities related to ocean acidification and its impacts; and coordinating activities with other agencies and appropriate international ocean science bodies. As part of its responsibilities, the OAP provides grants for critical research projects that explore the effects on marine organisms, ecosystems and the socioeconomic impacts that can lead to potential adaptive strategies.

Image: Determining our nation's vulnerability to ocean acidification demands a trifecta of understanding: quantifying the environmental exposure of marine life to ocean acidification through monitoring, discerning the sensitivity of marine life to ocean acidification through experimental research, and knowing the human dependence on the most impacted organisms.

In order to do achieve its mission, the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program fosters dialog among scientists, resource managers, stakeholders, policy makers, and the public, and advances research and monitoring to explore the effects of ocean acidification on economically and ecologically important ecosystems and species. Research and engagement activities are conducted according to six different focus areas or themes.

  1. MONITORING the changes in ocean chemistry

  2. Measuring the BIOLOGICAL RESPONSE of ecologically and economically important species

  3. Assessing the SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS of ocean acidification on human communities


  5. Assisting stakeholders to create and implement ADAPTATION STRATEGIES

  6. Fostering national EDUCATION & OUTREACH opportunities

To learn more about NOAA's mission and the legislative drivers explore the navigation bar to the right.

The OAP coordinates and administers a multi-faceted, matrixed program which spans NOAA divisions, funding efforts in:

The Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) Headquarters is located in the Research (OAR) division of NOAA. The OAP serves as the NOAA liaison for ocean acidification by working with other federal agencies, international entities, stakeholders, states and local agencies, the press, Congress and the public. NOAA coordinates closely with other federal agencies which have strong ocean acidification research or policy portfolios. See the Interagency Working Group (IWGOA) for further information.

The OAP also hosts the NOAA Ocean Acidification Working Group (NOAWG), which has representatives from the spectrum of NOAA programs involved in ocean acidification research, some funded by OAP, some not. The NOAWG provides guidance on operational, programmatic and implementation issues.


The NOAA Ocean Acidification program also has a senior executive service (SES) level Executive Oversight Board with representatives from National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Ocean and Atmospheric Research (OAR), National Environmental,  Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) and National Ocean Service (NOS).