Oysters at risk in acid oceans

THEY have formed a succulent and nutritious part of the human diet for thousands of years. But a new report is warning that plentiful supplies of oysters and mussels could disappear over the next century because the oceans are becoming increasingly acidic.

Dr John Baxter, the co-editor of an international report into the acidification of the world’s seas, said increasing levels of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by industrialised countries was gradually changing the acid level of waters across the world.

If the trend continued, the shells of thousands of species would be eroded and the creatures eventually wiped out – creating a huge knock-on effect on other fish and marine life.

As lobsters and crabs have shells with a different chemical composition, it is not clear how they will be affected by increasingly acidic sea water, the report says.

But as well as shellfish eaten by humans, certain types of plankton at the bottom of the marine food chain and coral reefs would also face serious ecological damage.

The first major marine areas to be affected, says the report, are the northern oceans, which are home to a wide variety of important marine life.

The Arctic Ocean is expected to be the first to reach a dangerous level of acidification with 10 per cent of its area hitting the threshold at which damage will occur by the end of this decade.

Jane Bradley, News Scotsman, 7 November 2010. Article.

1 Response to “Oysters at risk in acid oceans”

  1. 1 Jean-Pierre Gattuso 8 November 2010 at 09:14

    The title of this article is unfortunate because, despite the process of ocean acidification, the oceans are alkaline and will not become acidic (pH lower than 7) even in the distant future.

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