Ocean acidification dangers real: scientists

Foveaux Strait’s Bluff oyster fisheries, the Otago coastal algae, deep water corals, open ocean plankton, mussels and oysters are some of the New Zealand species that may be among the most affected by ocean acidification, warned a group of scientists.

The Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ), a national science academy, has issued a document to policy makers on the danger to coral reefs and fisheries resources around New Zealand and the rest of the globe caused by ocean acidification. RSNZ Professor and Vice President Keith Hunter headed the project.

The phenomenon of ocean acidification is produced when higher levels of carbon dioxide enter the atmosphere. When more carbon dioxide is available, more is absorbed by the oceans, which raises the waters’ acidity. Oceans take in a third of our carbon dioxide emissions.

Although the effect of increased acidity on marine ecosystems is largely unpredictable and cannot yet be quantified, it is suspected that long-term repercussions to substantial ecosystems will be significant, the RSNZ stated. The consequences will be exacerbated by overfishing, pollution and global warming, the latter of which may actually gain strength from ocean acidification.

Natalia Real, FiS, 14 May 2009. Full article.

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