An Eco-sustainable World
Ecological Glossary

Ocean acidification

Ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is a phenomenon that occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is absorbed by seawater, reacting with it to form carbonic acid. This acid decreases the pH of the water, making it more acidic.
The main cause of ocean acidification is the increase in CO2 emissions deriving from human activities, in particular from the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. It is estimated that about a quarter of man-made CO2 emissions are absorbed by the oceans.
Ocean acidification can have serious consequences for marine ecosystems. In particular, it can negatively affect the shell formation of molluscs, such as oysters and mussels, and corals, which are made up of calcium carbonate skeletons. More acidic water makes it difficult for these organisms to build and maintain their shells and skeletons, putting their survival at risk.

Additionally, ocean acidification can affect marine food chains. Some marine organisms, such as calcareous plankton, are at the base of the food chain and serve as food for many other species. If their habitat becomes more acidic, their ability to survive and reproduce could be compromised, with negative consequences for the whole ecosystem.
To tackle the problem of ocean acidification, it is essential to reduce CO2 emissions globally. This implies the transition to clean and renewable energy sources, as well as the adoption of sustainable practices in the industrial and agricultural sectors. Furthermore, it is important to protect marine habitats and promote the conservation of species that could be affected by ocean acidification.
Scientific research on ocean acidification is ongoing and efforts are underway to fully understand the long-term effects of this phenomenon on marine ecosystems and biodiversity.

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