By soaking up excess CO2 from the atmosphere oceans are undergoing a rise in acidity causing ramifications across their ecosystems, most frequently highlighted in the plight of coral reefs around the world. However, a new study in Nature Geoscience shows that the acidification is affecting another type of marine life. Foraminifera, a tiny amoeba-like entity numbering in the billions, have experienced a 30 to 35 percent drop in their shell-weight due to the high acidity of the oceans.
Although incredibly small, the tiny foraminifera are vital. They play an important role in trapping CO2 on the ocean’s surface and carrying it down to the ocean floor after dying, where the CO2 is stored. Scientists are concerned how the change in their effectiveness to create heavy shells may transform foraminifera’s role in carbon sequestration.
“The big challenge will be how do we scale up this kind of change to what I means for the ecosystem,” author William Howard told Reuters. “And to be honest. We don’t know yet.”
Researchers Andrew Moy and Howard from the University of Tasmania collected the foraminifera species Globigerina bulloides in the Southern Ocean using sediment traps. They compared the mass of current shells to others collected on the sea floor, going back as far as 50,000 years.
Nemo at risk from CO2 emissions? Ocean acidification may hurt baby fish
Increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere may have an unexpected impact on marine ecosystems: disorienting fish larvae. Research published in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that ocean acidification disrupts the olfactory sense of clownfish larvae, making it difficult for the fish to find a habitat, which for clownfish is a sea anemone.
Ocean acidification is killing the Great Barrier Reef
Since 1990 the growth of coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has slowed its lowest rate in at least 400 years as a result of warming waters and ocean acidification, report researchers writing in Science. The finding portends a bleak near-term future for the giant reef ecosystem as well as calcifying marine organisms around the world.
Climate change, ocean acidification may doom jumbo squid
Ocean acidification — driven by rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere — may hurt the Humboldt squid, report researchers writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Effects of ocean acidification will come 30 years earlier than expected
The Southern Ocean may be 30 years closer to a tipping point for ocean acidification than previously believed, putting sea life at risk, according to research published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.