Ocean acidification effects vary

Mar 18, 2016, 6:12 PM EDT
Shrimp. (Source: Paul Hudson/flickr)
Shrimp. (Source: Paul Hudson/flickr)
Scientists are looking at the acidification of the world’s oceans and its impact on marine life. Acidification is part of the effects of climate change, and is a direct result of carbon dioxide emissions from cars or power plants being absorbed by the oceans. The pH levels of the globe’s seas are changing, and negatively affecting ocean life, especially animals with exoskeletons. Phys.org reports:
A new study, based on the most-extensive set of measurements ever made in tide pools, suggests that ocean acidification will increasingly put many marine organisms at risk by exacerbating normal changes in ocean chemistry that occur overnight. Conducted along California's rocky coastline, the study from Carnegie's Ken Caldeira and Lester Kwiatkowski shows that the most-vulnerable organisms are likely to be those with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons. It is published by Scientific Reports.
When carbon dioxide emissions from cars or power plants are absorbed by the oceans, it changes seawater chemistry and makes it more acidic, a process called "ocean acidification." Increasing ocean acidity makes it difficult for organisms that construct their shells and exoskeletons out of calcium carbonate, such as mussels and oysters, to continue to build these protective layers. In high enough concentrations, carbon dioxide can even cause these shells and skeletons to dissolve entirely.
With the crackling, crunchy sound of its asymmetrical claws, the snapping shrimp is a real "treble-maker" for all marine life recordists. But the sound is essential because the animal uses it as a hunting mechanism as well as a warning sign to scare off predators.
This snappy marine creature produces the most ubiquitous sound in shallow temperate waters, and can be heard like a crackling popcorn. In fact, the snapping shrimp produces sounds of up to 210 decibels.
Unfortunately, the strange snapping shrimps are in danger of being silenced, all because of ocean acidification, a new study revealed.
Using remote sensing, researchers collected and analysed data spanning ten years with the focus on five parameters that directly correlate with carbon condition of the ocean surface. The idea was to monitor the status of two important regions of the Indian Ocean: the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
"One of the parameters is particulate inorganic carbon (PIC). We noted a decreasing trend of PIC over the last decade, which is linked to the decrease in abundance of phytoplanktons, microscopic organisms that form the base of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems," Sugata Hazra, professor, School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University, told IANS.
"This might be due to over-accumulation of carbon dioxide," said Abhra Chanda, of the varsity's School of Oceanographic Studies and one of the authors of the study.