Acidic oceans shrink plankton

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NHM London/SPL

As oceans take up more carbon dioxide, their increasing acidity could be decreasing the weight of one of the most abundant calcium-producing marine phytoplankton.

Low pH is known to interfere with phytoplankton calcification and reduce their weight in the lab, but the impacts of ocean acidification in the wild have not been clear. Sebastian Meier, now at the University of Kiel in Germany, and his colleagues collected Emiliania huxleyi (pictured) particles between 1993 and 2005 from surface sediments in the Mediterranean Sea. (…)

Nature editorial group, 2014. Acidic oceans shrink plankton. Nature 510:190. Article (subscription required).

1 Response to “Acidic oceans shrink plankton”


  1. 1 Jean-Pierre Gattuso 17 June 2014 at 14:29

    It is unfortunate that the terminology used in the title of this article is misleading. The definition of “acidic” in the Oxford English dictionary is “having the properties of an acid; having a pH of less than 7″. Despite the process of ocean acidification (the acidity of seawater has increased 26% since preindustrial time), the oceans are alkaline (pH higher than 7) and will not become acidic in the foreseeable future. Hence, the “acid” or “acidic” should not be used when referring to seawater. Note that there are few exceptions, seawater can be acidic in the immediate vicinity of CO2 vents or in purposeful perturbation experiments.


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