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Ocean Acidification Research in Ecuador: Regenerating Science-Policy-Society Relations

Five years ago, a group of Ecuadorian scientists embarked on developing what could now be considered an ocean acidification research enterprise. The project was spearheaded by two marine biologists who founded the Equatorial Biome & Ocean Acidification lab (EBIOAC) in 2014. EBIOAC is a research group currently based at Universidad Laica Eloy Alfaro de Manabí, a public university in the coastal city of Manta. Their main research lab is the EBIOAC mesocosm – a facility that simulates ocean acidification conditions based on current patterns of CO2 emissions in order to evaluate the responses of marine organisms, particularly key native species.

However, since its founding, EBIOAC has struggled due to scarce funding opportunities, an absence of media coverage, and a general lack of political awareness regarding the issue of ocean acidification. Not only do these circumstances limit the engagement of actors from scientific, political, and corporate spheres that could support research initiatives – they restrict capacity to develop technical infrastructures and skills within allied and stakeholder institutions. As EBIOAC strives to enroll a partner base and become a “centre of calculation” (Latour, 1987) that produces and disseminates crucial scientific knowledge, we can observe how EBIOAC is creating “boundary objects” (Star and Griesemer, 1989) through which science-policy-society relations can be articulated, reorganized, and regenerated. Through collaboration between Kaleidos Center and EBIOAC scientists, our project seeks to use methodologies such as situation analysis and ethnography to analyze spaces, actors, issues, and time frames of ocean acidification research and its implications for policy.

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Created date

August 30, 2019