We’ve known for awhile that ocean acidification (which results from the burning of fossil fuels, just like global warming) is a huge concern for the oceans and many of the living creatures that rely on it (yeah,.. that’s a lot of the Earth’s living creatures). But what we knew was that it was a threat to the creation of some marine life shells and skeletons, and then there was a ripple effect up the food chain.
However, it turns out things are worse than previously expected.
Ocean Acidification Kills Fish
“Several studies published in the journal Nature Climate Change, Baumann (2011) and Frommel (2011), indicate that… [f]ish may, in fact, be seriously threatened by ocean acidification,” Rob Painting reports over on Skeptical Science. “Although adult fish seem well-equipped to deal with low pH waters, or higher levels of CO2 in seawater, their egg and larval life stages, a typically vulnerable time for all marine life, may not be so fortunate.”
“Baumann (2011) show that larvae survival in one fish species drops with increased levels of CO2 (figure 1). Survival rates plummeting some 75% under a scenario with 1000ppm (parts per million) of atmospheric CO2. And Frommel (2011) discovered considerable tissue damage and necrosis (dead tissue) in fish larvae of another species exposed to higher levels of CO2 than the present day. In the high CO2 experiments, this damage to internal organs was so extensive it lead to the death of afflicted larvae.”
For more, the studies are discussed in more depth over on Skeptical Science.
Ocean Acidification is Here (Big Time) and Has No Easy Fix Other than the Obvious One
While on the topic of ocean acidification, though, Michael Lemonick of Climate Central had a ‘nice’ piece on Climate Central this week quickly discussion how screwed our oceans are and how ‘simple’ solutions to fix the problem with geoengineering would cost trillions of dollars and wouldn’t solve much. One notable quote from that piece: “the oceans are now 30% more acidic than they were before the Industrial Revolution began….”
But that whole piece is worth a read as well.
What’s the obvious solution? Stop burning fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow!
Ocean photo via shutterstock