Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Antarctic marine wildlife is under threat, study finds


Marine snails in seas around Antarctica are being affected by ocean acidification, scientists have found.

An international team of researchers found that the snails' shells are being corroded.

Experts says the findings are significant for predicting the future impact of ocean acidification on marine life.

The results of the study are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The marine snails, called "pteropods", are an important link in the oceanic food chain as well as a good indicator of ecosystem health.

"They are a major grazer of phytoplankton and... a key prey item of a number of higher predators - larger plankton, fish, seabirds, whales," said Dr Geraint Tarling, Head of Ocean Ecosystems at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and co-author of the report.

The study was a combined project involving researchers from the BAS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of East Anglia's school of Environmental Sciences.

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