Tags: Global Warming | ocean acidification | global warming | animals

5 Ocean Animals Affected by Global Warming-Caused Ocean Acidification, According to Scientists

By    |   Thursday, 21 May 2015 04:33 PM

Ocean acidification — which has been called "climate change's equally evil twin" — is caused when an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolves in the ocean after it's released through burning coal, oil, and gas. Many scientists link ocean acidification with global warming as they track the potentially harmful effects of this acidification on ocean wildlife.

As CO2 dissolves in the seawater, it affects the ecosystem: pH levels, calcium carbonate minerals, and carbonate ion concentrations are altered and reduced.

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Here are five oceanic species scientists claim are harmed by ocean acidification:

1. Coral Reefs

Stable coral reefs provide the environment necessary for other sea creatures to survive. When ocean acidification decreases the pH and other mineral levels, the coral reefs are more susceptible to diseases, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

2. Pteropods (sea butterflies)

Although pteropods are about the size of a pea, they provide a huge source of food for North Pacific juvenile salmon, as well as for krill and whales, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

3. Shellfish

Especially on the West Coast, some oysters’ natural ecosystems have been nearly destroyed when they experience lower pH levels and surges of CO2, according to the NOAA.

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4. Rockfish

Studies from Scripps have shown that when rockfish are introduced to sea water with decreased pH levels, they become more anxious via the alteration of their GABAA receptors, and thus remain solely in the dark parts of their aquariums. Rockfish in environments with normal pH levels naturally and continuously rotate between light and dark environments.

5. Sponges

Ocean acidification through rising CO2 levels affects sponges’ acid-based regulations, thus making the sponges much more susceptible to diseases, according to the Wiley Online Library’s research.

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Many scientists link ocean acidification with global warming as they track the potentially harmful effects of this acidification on ocean wildlife.
ocean acidification, global warming, animals
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2015-33-21
Thursday, 21 May 2015 04:33 PM
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