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Ocean’s small shelled animals suffering from acidification due to global warming

climate-changeAcidic oceans are dissolving shells of tiny sea snails, researchers find, ABC News, 2 May 16 By Kieran Jones Small organisms are struggling to survive as the ocean becomes more acidic, researchers say, including tiny sea snails whose shells are dissolving.

Key points:

  • Acidification could severely affect the ocean’s food chain
  • Small organisms are being damaged and scientists fear it could affect large animals
  • A prominent researcher says reducing CO2 emissions would reduce acidification

Researchers fear an increase in acidification in the Southern Ocean could have a severe impact on the food chain off Australia’s south coast.

The concerns come as 350 scientists from more than 30 countries gather in Hobart for an international symposium on the impact of carbon dioxide on the world’s oceans.

Ocean acidification means the pH level of water has decreased, making it inhospitable for small organisms.

CSIRO research scientist Andrew Lenton was part of a team that developed a map of acidification around Australia.

He said the impact was already being felt.

“The changes in Australia are very close to the changes that are occurring everywhere else in the world, so this is really a global problem that Australia is part of,” he said.

“Already there are detectable changes in the Southern Ocean.”

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions would reduce acidification………The impact is also visible in tiny free-swimming sea snails call pteropods, which are a vital part of the diet of many large fish.

Researchers said the percentage of pteropods with dissolving shells observed had doubled since the pre-industrial era and was on track to triple by 2050.

Dr Richard Feely from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said reducing carbon dioxide emissions was the best way to avoid acidification.

“In order for us to address ocean acidification on a global scale we would have to add two billion tonnes of calcium carbonate,” he said………

May 4, 2016 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans

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