How marine life is responding to ocean acidification

How marine life is responding to ocean acidification

( —A new study by researchers at the University of Bristol and Plymouth Marine Laboratory has shed light on how different species of marine organisms are reacting to ocean acidification.

Since the Industrial Revolution, nearly 30 per cent of all the carbon dioxide produced by manmade emissions has been absorbed by the ocean, causing a drop in pH of ocean surface waters: ocean acidification.

The current rate of CO2 emissions is unprecedented in the past 65 million years and there are considerable risks for the marine ecosystem all over the globe. The related risks for marine life and the associated consequences for humanity will be discussed at the upcoming Washington Ocean Summit, chaired by US Secretary of State, John Kerry on 16-17 June.

The difficulties in predicting the future of our oceans is, among others, the different response to ocean acidification in closely related species and therefore the inability to generalize physiological effects.

Dr Sophie McCoy (Plymouth) and Dr Federica Ragazzola (Bristol) compared historical material and recent material from crustose coralline algae from a location with fast acidification on the west coast of the United States.

They found that the reaction to in some organisms is driven by their morphology (that is, the form and structure of the organisms and their specific structural features) and therefore, organisms with the same morphology will react the same independently of how closely related the species are.

Dr Ragazzola, a Leverhulme post-doctoral researcher in Bristol's School of Earth Sciences said: "The mechanisms we have identified in crustose coralline algae may be applicable to other calcifying taxa with differences in morphological types dictated by skeletal thickness and growth rates."

Dr McCoy, a Marie Curie Fellow at Plymouth Marine Laboratory added: "Our use of historical specimens in this study has enabled us to study long-term response to ocean in the context of environmental variability and community processes that occur in nature. This type of study is an important complement to experimental work in this area."

The research is published today in Nature Climate Change.

Explore further

Key species of algae shows effects of climate change over time

More information: Skeletal trade-offs in coralline algae in response to ocean acidification. S. J. McCoy & F. Ragazzola. Nature Climate Change (2014) DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2273. Received 13 March 2014 Accepted 19 May 2014 Published online 15 June 2014
Journal information: Nature Climate Change

Citation: How marine life is responding to ocean acidification (2014, June 16) retrieved 22 July 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jun 16, 2014
Remaining eager "believers";
The denier voting majority will never allow any "climate action" to SAVE THE PLANET unless science is as 100% certain in "belief" because 32 more years of science's laughable "95%" certainty is unsustainable.
And get up to date;
*Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by politicians.
*Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).
Deny that.

Jun 17, 2014
Wingnut @meme doesn't believe science, science fact, economics or human survival instincts. People will eventually take action on global warming when the survival instinct takes over and coastlines across the world start sinking. Deniers are not the majority by the way. Deniers are just POS hot heads that can not reason logic just like the tea party is founded on the thoughts of fools, bufoons, liars and charlatans! Deniers all vote republican because stupid is as stupid does; not recognizing how utterly damaged the atmosphere is and how utterly dangerous 400ppm CO2 is.

It doesn't matter what other countries do. What matters is what we do. That means demanding implementation of regulations that reduce our carbon pollution emissions, and advancing renewable energy sources that don't pollute, like solar, wind, hydo. Once those are in place, that is 25 years of free energy. Charge a CO2 tax on the 1%, and use the subsidy to move to electric vehicles and electric roads.

Jun 17, 2014

Meme is annoying but Paul aka mememine69 is a big comedy fan from the beautiful city of London, Ontario (except for the humidity and mosquitos in summer). He has all of three Face Book friends, two of which are politicians, one of them the crack loving drunk Bob Ford.

Maybe he thinks posting here is just a big joke.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more