New report warns that CO2 is degrading marine life, scientists warn of economic repercussions.
Oceans absorb CO2, making environments more acidic
Acid levels from CO2 absorption reduce calcium carbonate in environment
Coral reef damage could have negative economic impact
The State of the Ocean 2013 report, researchers at the University of Southampton show us that CO2 is degrading marine life, and will continue to do so unless something is done to change the rate of CO2 release.
Experiments have been conducted over the last 20 years in hopes of identifying the extent of impact of the growing amount of CO2 being absorbed by the ocean. In the report, regions that serve as carbon dioxide sinks have been identified.
In 2010, Ulf Riebesell of the Helmholtz Institute for Ocean Research began a series of experiments in which giant test tubes were lowered into the water, essentially capturing a slice of the ocean. These “slices” were then tested with varying amounts of CO2 added to the water. They found that an increase of CO2 increased the acidity level of the environment and decreasing the amount of calcium carbonate in the water.
DW reports that Ulf Riebesell states, “This will affect coral, mussels, snails, sea urchins, starfish as well as fish and other organisms. Some of these species will simply not be able to compete with others in the ocean of the future,” he added.
Scientists warns against the repercussions of this concern. Not only could it impact the shores in which coral reefs act as barriers against storms and waves, but it could effectively damage some economies as well. Coral reefs act attract tourists, act as nurseries for fish, and are home to various species of fish.
Polar regions are expected to be damaged as well. In these areas, there have already been small molluscs and snails found with corroded shells. Scientists state that these small animals play a crucial role in the food chain.
“The rates of CO2 increase we are seeing at the moment are probably as high as they’ve been for the last 300 million years,” IPSO’s scientific director Alex Rogers states.