Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Scientists Analyze the Effects of Ocean Acidification On Marine Species

Aug. 25, 2013 — Ocean acidification could change the ecosystems of our seas even by the end of this century. Biologists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have therefore assessed the extent of this ominous change for the first time. In a new study they compiled and analysed all available data on the reaction of marine animals to ocean acidification. The scientists found that whilst the majority of animal species investigated are affected by ocean acidification, the respective impacts are very specific.

The AWI-researchers present their results as an Advance Online Publication on Sunday 25 August 2013 in Nature Climate Change.

The oceans absorb more than a quarter of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere. They form a natural store without which Earth would now be a good deal warmer. But their storage capacities are limited and the absorption of carbon dioxide is not without consequence. Carbon dioxide dissolves in water, forms carbonic acid and causes the pH value of the oceans to drop -- which affects many sea dwellers. In recent years much research has therefore been conducted on how individual species react to the carbon dioxide enrichment and the acidifying water. So far the overall extent of these changes on marine animals has been largely unknown.




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