Scientists claim new danger to marine life could be devastating

While debate rages over sewerage schemes, plastic rubbish, global warming and greenhouse emission, scientists are beginning to sound warnings of an equally serious problem . . . ocean acidification.

The villain of the piece, as with global warming, is rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The threat it poses could be devastating on marine life, the marine food chain and the ocean ecosystem.

Its implications are profound for the future of inshore and deepwater fisheries, and with potentially catastrophic effects on aquaculture.

The scale of the problem has been highlighted by Associate Professor of Marine Science, Abby Smith of the University of Otago – an American who has been researching bryozoans on the Otago Shelf.

Bryozoans are defined as aquatic vertebrates which vary substantially in shape and size – from a pinhead to a head.

Her years of research into the mineral composition of bryozoan skeletons has now taken Prof Smith into the forefront of study into the increasing acidification of the sea.


Ian Gillies, The Brisborne Herald, 4 April 2009. Full article.

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