Eideard

Sea snails begin to show impact of more acidic ocean

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Wing foot pteropod

The shells of some marine snails in the seas around Antarctica are dissolving as the water becomes more acidic, threatening the food chain, said a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience…

Oceans soak up about a quarter of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year and as CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase from burning fossil fuels, so do ocean levels, making seas more acidic.

Ocean acidification is one of the effects of climate change and threatens coral reefs, marine ecosystems and wildlife.

The shell of the pteropod sea snail in the Southern Ocean was severely dissolved by more acidic surface water, the researchers from the British Antarctic Survey, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research…NOAA and other institutions found.

And although the snails did not necessarily die, it increased their vulnerability to predators and infection which could affect other parts of the food chain.

“The corrosive properties of the water caused shells of live animals to be severely dissolved and this demonstrates how vulnerable pteropods are,” said lead author Nina Bednaršek, from the NOAA.

…Until now, there has been little evidence of the impact of ocean acidification on such live organisms in their natural environment and the study supports predictions that acidification could have a significant effect on marine ecosystems…

Climate models forecast more intense winds in the Southern Ocean this century if CO2 continues to increase, which will make the mixing of deep water with more acidic surface waters more frequent, the study said.

Since the start of the industrial revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by 30 percent, according to NOAA research.

The authors of the study predict surface waters could be 150 % more acidic by the end of this century.

Keep messing with my scungilli and I’m getting really pissed off!

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Written by Ed Campbell

December 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

One Response

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  1. Reblogged this on okieprogressive.

    okieprogressive

    December 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm


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