SINU to conduct Research on Ocean Acidification in the Solomon Islands

Dr. Soapi is being acquainted with one of the laboratories at the Department of Fisheries, where research on ocean acidification in the Solomon Islands will be conducted

The Solomon Islands National University Ocean Acidification Research Team is set to commence research in the Solomon Islands, thanks to the secured funds and equipment from The Ocean Foundation (TOF) in the USA. The team is eagerly anticipating the arrival of water quality analysis equipment, generously provided by TOF.

The SINU Ocean Acidification Research Team is multidisciplinary, comprises of SINU academics, former staff at Prime Minister’s Office, and representatives from Government Ministries. Dr. Lindon Havimana from the Department of Fisheries Studies leads the team, with support from Dr. Wycliff Tupiti, Mr. Edwin Koveke from the Second Solomon Islands Road and Aviation Project (SIRAP2), Mr. Danny Shadrech and Mr. Lenny Konamauri from the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services, and Mr. Wayne Kavora from the Chemistry Department, SINU. Dr. Havimana and Dr. Tupiti participated in hands-on training on equipment deployment and handling at the University of the South Pacific last year.

Ocean Acidification (OA), a consequence of global high carbon dioxide () emissions, occurs when the ocean absorbs excess   from the atmosphere. This alters the ocean’s chemistry, increasing acidity and potentially harming marine life. In the Solomon Islands, where the marine environment is vital to livelihoods, little is known about OA’s specific impact. The SINU OA Research Team aims to:

  • Enhance understanding of ocean acidification and its effects on marine organisms and the livelihoods of those reliant on them.
  • Strengthen protection, conservation, and sustainable management of coastal marine ecosystems through national government policies.
  • Provide data for initiating and optimizing OA projections in the Solomon Islands, sharing information with relevant scientific bodies like the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) and Pacific Islands and Territories Ocean Acidification (PI-TOA).

In preparation for the research, the team welcomed Dr. Katy Soapi to the Department of Fisheries Studies on January 19th 2024. Dr. Soapi, the coordinator at the Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Sciences at the Pacific Community (SPC) in Fiji, engaged in discussions with the team on various ocean acidification issues, and explored opportunities for collaboration with her organization to advance ocean sciences in the Solomon Islands and the broader Pacific. Dr. Soapi expresses her excitement when witnessing the accomplishments of her former students at USP, who are contributing to the national development in the field of science.

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