Studies find ocean acidification will have significant effect on key marine organisms

Researchers in the Laboratoire d’Océanographie at Villefranche (LOV) (CNRS / UPMC) have demonstrated that key marine organisms, such as deep-water corals and pteropods (shelled pelagic mollusks) will be significantly affected by ocean acidification caused by anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions during the years to come. Two studies have been published in the open access journal Biogeosciences.



Since 1800, one third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions has been absorbed by the oceans, corresponding to an annual uptake of one ton of CO2 per person. This massive absorption has allowed to partly mitigate climate change but it has also caused a major disruption to the chemistry of seawater.

This absorbed CO2 causes an acidification of the oceans and, at the current rate of emissions, it is estimated that their pH will fall by 0.4 units between now and 2100. This corresponds to a 3-fold increase of the mean acidity of the oceans, which is unprecedented during the past 20 million years.

The LOV team, led by Jean-Pierre Gattuso, studied the impact of such a reduction in pH on calcifying organisms. Pteropods (pelagic marine mollusks) and deep-water corals, both playing essential roles in their respective ecosystems, live in areas that will be among the first to be affected by ocean acidification.

Green Car Congress, 16 September 2009. Full article.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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