The expected biological impact of ocean acidification remains still uncertain. Most calcifying organisms such as corals, mussels, algae and plankton investigated so far, respond negatively to the more acidic ocean waters. Because of the increased acidity, less carbonate ions are available, which means the calcification rates of the organisms are decreasing and thus their shells and skeletons thinning. However, a recent study suggested that a specific form of single-celled algae called coccolithophores actually gets stimulated by elevated pCO2 levels in the oceans, creating even bigger uncertainties when it comes to the biological response. There are thousands of calcifying organisms on earth and we have investigated only six to ten of them, we need to have a much better understanding of the physiological mechanisms demanded Jean-Pierre Gattuso, a speaker from Laboratoire dOcanographie Villefranche invited by EuroCLIMATE. In addition, higher marine life forms are likely to be affected by the rapidly acidifying oceans and entire food webs might be changing.
So far, hardly any economic impact assessments of ocean acidification exist, but with the fragile marine ecosystems under threat, it can be assumed that fisheries and many coastal economies will be severely affected. Many of these societies depend on the sea as their main source of food and the loss of species is highly detrimental to them; coral reefs serve as highly valuable tourist destinations and as natural protections against natural hazards such as tsunamis. Together with climate change, ocean acidification poses a major challenge to the oceans as a human habitat.
Ocean acidification is happening today and its happening on top of global warming, so we are in double trouble stated Bijma. Only a serious cut of CO2 emission can reduce ocean acidification. Therefore, knowledge on ocean acidification is being disseminated and
|Contact: Dr. Michiko Hama|
European Science Foundation