Acidification of oceans, biodiversity at risk

Acidification of oceans, biodiversity at risk

November 2016 – Ocean acidification, caused by the absorption of atmospheric CO2 in water, can trigger a cascade of biodiversity loss in some marine habitats. The warning comes from a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, which has looked at dozens of international studies on lowering the pH of the seas.

Experts have analyzed the consequences of ocean acidification on coral reefs, mussel beds, kelp forests and seagrass meadows, which are home to thousands of marine species. Living things that use calcium carbonate to form shells and skeletons, such as mussels and corals, should be particularly vulnerable to acidification, scientists show.

“The diversity of species in the habitats made from calcium carbonate such as coral reefs and banks of mussels is expected to decline with increasing acidification”, it detects the zoologist Jennifer Sunday, author of the study.

More difficult to predict what will happen to the seagrass meadows, vital for many fish species. With acidification theoretically there would be “an exponential growth of the species that can be sustained,” said Sunday, “but the evidence in the real world to date show that this potential has not been reached.” In the group of seagrass meadows in the Mediterranean which was considered, in fact, it was not observed any increase in biodiversity.

Guido Bissanti

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