Vulnerability of marine biodiversity to ocean acidification: A meta-analysis

The ocean captures a large part of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere. As a result of the increase in CO2 partial pressure the ocean pH is lowered as compared to pre-industrial times and a further decline is expected. Ocean acidification has been proposed to pose a major threat for marine organisms, particularly shell-forming and calcifying organisms. Here we show, on the basis of meta-analysis of available experimental assessments, differences in organism responses to elevated pCO2 and propose that marine biota may be more resistant to ocean acidification than expected. Calcification is most sensitive to ocean acidification while it is questionable if marine functional diversity is impacted significantly along the ranges of acidification predicted for the 21st century. Active biological processes and small-scale temporal and spatial variability in ocean pH may render marine biota far more resistant to ocean acidification than hitherto believed.



Hendriks, I. E., Duarte, C. M., & Àlvarez, M., 2009. Vulnerability of marine biodiversity to ocean acidification: A meta-analysis. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science in press doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2009.11.022. Article.

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