• Anthropogenic CO2;
  • ecological modelling;
  • fisheries;
  • ocean acidification;
  • physiological effects


Views expressed on the potential impact of ocean acidification range from wholesale degradation of marine ecosystems through to no discernable impact with minimal consequences. Constraining this range of predictions is necessary for the development of informed policy and management. The direct biological impacts of acidification occur at the molecular and cellular level; however, it is the expression of these effects at the population and ecosystem level that is of societal concern. Here, we consider the potential impact of ocean acidification on fisheries with particular emphasis on approaches to scaling from physiological responses to population- and ecosystem-level processes. In some instances, impacts of ocean acidification may lead to changes in the relative species composition at a given trophic level without affecting the overall productivity, whilst in other instances, ocean acidification may lead to a reduction in productivity at a given tropic level. Because of the scale at which ecological processes operate, modelling studies are required. Here, ocean acidification is situated within ongoing research into the ecological dynamics of perturbed systems, for which many models have already been developed. Whilst few existing models currently explicitly represent physiological processes sensitive to ocean acidification, some examples of how ocean acidification effects may be emulated within existing models are discussed. Answering the question of how acidification may impact fisheries requires the integration of knowledge across disciplines; this contribution aims to facilitate the inclusion of higher trophic level ecology into this ongoing debate and discussion.