Ocean water dissolving the shells of marine life? Sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie, but for many shelled marine organisms it's a reality due to anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide. With the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at its highest point in the last 650,000 years, the oceans are becoming more acidic as the water turns carbon dioxide into carbonic acid.
Recent scientific findings have shown that acidified waters are reaching near shore regions along the western North American coastline. This unexpected finding suggests that some organisms with shells may already be experiencing sea water chemistry that is corrosive to their shells. Scientists have known of this threat to marine life; however they originally thought it would take decades to reach such dangerous levels.
This is only the latest worrisome discovery, and it should act as further impetus for urgent action to cut global carbon emissions. To learn more about how acidic oceans threaten marine life, read two informative articles from the Telegraph and Science.
Ellycia Harrould-Kolieb is a science fellow at Oceana. On occasion, she'll weigh in to inform us on some of the pressing issues facing the oceans.
- Ocean Roundup: Humpback Whales Communicate to Feed at Night, Bangladesh Oil Spill Threatening Sundarbans Mangroves, and More Posted Wed, December 17, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Filefish Use Chemical Scent to Camouflage, Bangladesh Oil Spill Threatening Endangered Dolphins, and More Posted Mon, December 15, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Humpback Whales Frequenting New York City Waters, Oceans House Over 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces, and More Posted Thu, December 11, 2014
- Western Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Gain New Protections Posted Mon, December 15, 2014
- Coral Reefs Turning Silent from Overfishing, Other Human Impacts Posted Thu, December 11, 2014