Ocean acidification: separating evidence from judgment. A reply to Dupont et al

Recently ocean acidification as a major threat for marine species has moved from a consensus statement into a much discussed and even challenged conception. A simple meta-analysis of Hendriks et al. (2010) showed that based on results of pooled experimental evidence, marine biota may turn out to be more resistant than hitherto believed. Dupont et al. (2010) indicate the importance of evaluating the most vulnerable stages in the life cycle of organisms instead of only adult stages. Here we evaluate additional material, composed of experimental evidence of the effect of ocean acidification on marine organisms during adult, larval, and juvenile stages, and show that the observed effects are within the range predicted by Hendriks et al. (2010). Species-specific differences and a wide variance in the reaction of organisms might obscure patterns of differences between life stages. Future research should be aimed to clarify underlying mechanisms to define the effect ocean acidification will have on marine biodiversity. Conveying scientific evidence along with an open acknowledgment of uncertainties to help separate evidence from judgment should not harm the need to act to mitigate ocean acidification and should pave the road for robust progress in our understanding of how ocean acidification impacts biota of the ocean.

Hendriks, I. E., & Duarte, C. M., in press. Ocean acidification: separating evidence from judgment. A reply to Dupont et al. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2010.06.007. Article (subscription required).

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