U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

American Society of Limnology and Oceanography holds Ocean Fertilization (ALSO) Workshop.
Published: May 30, 2001
Posted: August 03, 2001

A workshop was held on April 23-24, 2001, in Washington, D.C., on the scientific and legal questions behind fertilization of the ocean to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide. The workshop was jointly funded by DOE-BER, DOE-FE, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The workshop began with a congressional briefing on ocean fertilization that was attended by seven members of the Ocean Caucus and their staff. Scientific presentations at the briefing emphasized the uncertainties associated with ocean fertilization, the potential environmental consequences of this carbon sequestration approach, and the need for further research. The complexities of biogeochemical cycling in ocean environments and the need for a greater understanding of the fundamental aspects of the ocean carbon cycle were also stressed. The congressional briefing was followed by discussions that were attended by approximately 40 scientists from universities and industry, representatives from government agencies, and venture capitalists interested in exploiting this carbon sequestration strategy for carbon credits. The workshop members concluded that, because the global ocean is an international domain, ASLO should convene an international symposium to promote discussion of ocean fertilization experiments and demonstrations. Moreover, guidelines for ocean fertilization research and demonstrations should be established to ensure scientific integrity and to protect the public trust. The workshop participants agreed on the need for public access to data and peer review of scientific research. This workshop was an important first step in encouraging a dialogue between diverse viewpoints on the subject of ocean fertilization.

Contact: Anna Palmisano, SC-74, 3-9963
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER
      (formerly SC-74 Environmental Sciences Division, OBER)


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