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Models for calculating chemical speciation in seas and estuaries

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Models for calculating chemical speciation in seas and estuaries

The chemical form (“speciation”) of dissolved compounds, ranging from carbonate to trace metals, controls their toxicity, bioavailability, and mobility in aquatic systems. Speciation varies in a complex way with salinity, pH, temperature and pressure. A new international project to improve chemical speciation modelling in seawater is being co-led by UEA and funded by the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research. M-KEN is helping to identify end-users of these models.

The effects of ocean acidification on the general health of the oceans, and impacts in areas of human concern such as fisheries, will increase in the future. Chemical speciation models are important for interpreting measurements and understanding these impacts. They have the potential to unify the treatment of pH (and the different scales in practical use), and carbonate and trace metal speciation, in a wide range of marine and estuarine environments.

Current chemical speciation models remain incomplete. Professors Simon Clegg (UEA), David Turner (University of Gothenburg), and Sylvia Sander (University of Otago) are leading SCOR Working Group 145 to address this problem over a four year period and produce a set of web-based state-of-the-art models for marine scientists and end-users with practical interests in carbonate (CO2) chemistry, and nutrient and contaminant behaviour in marine and estuarine environments.

Professor Clegg’s previous experience in this field includes the development of a system for determining the speciation of dissolved ammonia in seawater and estuarine waters, for the National Rivers Authority. The models developed by the Working Group will have applications in water quality monitoring and commercial fisheries (especially shellfish), in addition to global and regional studies of ocean acidification and its effects. Professor Turner is a member of the Steering Committee of the international programme GEOTRACES (“An International Study of the Marine Biogeochemical Cycles of Trace Elements and their Isotopes”).

We are very interested in engaging with potential users at an early stage, in order to guide the research being carried out and deliver the greatest practical benefits. Please contact for further details.

Posted by Martin Johnson on Fri, 27 Oct 2017

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