Feature Collaboratives: 
West African Region

Building Capacity in Ocean Acidification Monitoring in the Gulf of Guinea (BIOTTA)

When TOF decided to help teach an ocean acidification mini course in 2020 for the Coastal Ocean Ecosystem Summer School in Ghana (COESSING), we gained a new partner in Dr. Edem Mahu, a lecturer of Marine Geochemistry at the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences of the University of Ghana. In addition to organizing COESSING sessions and carrying out globally-recognized research, Dr. Mahu leads a Partnership for the Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) project called Building Capacity in Ocean Acidification Monitoring in the Gulf of Guinea (BIOTTA).

TOF formally joined the advisory committee of BIOTTA and through staff time, honoraria, and equipment funds, TOF is assisting BIOTTA with: 

  • Designing and distributing a landscape assessment survey to identify existing capacity and where there are unmet needs
  • Identifying and engaging stakeholders to bolster the avenues for local and regional support in addressing ocean acidification, as well as connecting this initiative to regional conventions to formally recognize needs
  • Providing online training to introduce researchers, students, resource managers, and policy-makers to ocean acidification basics, monitoring, and experimental methodologies
  • Procuring and delivering $100k of GOA-ON in a Box equipment and hands-on training with experts to enable researchers to carry out high-quality ocean acidification monitoring to global standards while addressing local knowledge gaps

Photo Credit: Benjamin Botwe

Aerial top view of Saint Thomas and Prince, Africa
four people taking ocean acidification samples on a boat

To carry out this work, Dr. Mahu and TOF are leading a cadre of five Focal Points from each of the countries in the BIOTTA region: Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria. Each Focal Point provides input during coordination meetings, recruits relevant actors, and will lead the development of national OA monitoring plans.

The BIOTTA project is a continuation of TOF’s efforts to provide scientists, policymakers, and communities with the tools they need to understand and respond to ocean acidification. As of January 2022, TOF has trained more than 250 scientists and policymakers from more than 25 countries and provided more than $750,000 USD in direct financial and equipment support. Putting the money and the tools into the hands of the local experts ensures these projects will be responsive to local needs and sustained into the future.

The Team:

Two people take ocean acidification samples on a boat
  • Dr. Edem Mahu
  • Dr. Benjamin Botwe
  • Mr. Ulrich Joel Bilounga
  • Dr. Francis Asuqou
  • Dr. Mobio Abaka Brice Hervé
  • Dr. Zacharie Sohou

Photo Credit: Benjamin Botwe