Soft boiled eggs

Reef-building animals will struggle to reproduce as the climate changes

Ocean acidification – the result of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels – will affect the sex lives of many marine organisms, according to a study published recently in Current Biology.



Jon Havenhand, a marine biologist at the University of Gothenberg, and colleagues found that the swimming ability of sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma sperm, fertilization rate and subsequent development of embryos are all negatively affected by relatively modest changes in the water acidity. Acidification causes many problems for calcifying organisms and the future looks gloomy for coral reefs. The new findings add to their woes, as direct effects on reproduction had previously not been investigated. One can only hope that the invisible hand of selection will guide these marine creatures to a state of adaptation that copes with the conditions they will have to face.

Conservation Magazine, 4 August 2008. Article.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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