Devastating Effect Of Ocean Acidification Brings Danger; Study Warns

First Posted: Nov 22, 2016 03:44 AM EST

Reports of the devastating effects of global warming are spreading rampantly. It hits places like the oceans. Now, the experts are investigating on how the ocean acidification will affect marine life and eventually people.

The team of biodiversity researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) together with colleagues coming from Australia, China, Europe, Japan and the U.S. conducted a combined study of existing research to give a more comprehensive explanation of the impact of ocean acidification.

In the field of research, previously the experts study the impact of ocean acidification on individual species. Moreover, the new study predicts how the ocean acidification affects the living habitats such as kelp forests, corals and seagrass that serve as a home to other marine species.

UBC zoologist and biodiversity researcher who led the study, Jennifer Sunday, said that "Not too surprisingly, species diversity in calcium carbonate-based habitats like coral reefs and mussel beds were projected to decline with increased ocean acidification." The most affected would be the species that use calcium carbonate to construct their skeletons and shells, an example would be the corals and mussels. They would particularly be vulnerable to ocean acidification, according to Phys.Org.

In addition, Jennifer Sunday added that the most complex responses are those of seagrass beds. These are vital to many species of fish. These showed the potential to increase the number of species they can support. But the real-world evidence so far shows that they are not reaching this potential. This highlights a need to focus not only on individual species but also on how the supportive habitat that sets nature's stage responds and interacts to climate change.

The experts were able to try their predictions against the real-world data coming from two sites: a group of seagrass beds found in the Mediterranean and a coral reef close to Papua New Guinea. They have found that the coral reef, the complexity and diversity of the marine life in the area lower if the acidification increases. Even though predictions that the bed of seagrass would fare well under increased levels of carbon dioxide, they did not find any increase in biodiversity, according to the report from the University of Washington.

Senior author of the paper a marine ecologist from UBC Christopher Harley shared that, "We don't have time to measure the impact of climate change in each individual species, but using this approach allows us to make reasonable predictions. Now we have a much clearer picture of how some losers can drag biodiversity down with them, and how some other species might be able to help their habitat mediate a response to acidification."

The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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