Demonstrating the effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms to support climate change understanding

Ocean acidification, a product of CO2 absorption by the world’s oceans, is largely driven by the anthropogenic combustion of fossil fuels and has already lowered the pH of marine ecosystems. Organisms with calcium carbonate shells and skeletons are especially susceptible to increasing environmental acidity due to reduction in the saturation state of CaCO3 that accompanies ocean acidification. Creating a connection between human-mediated changes to our environment and the effect it will have on biota is crucial to establishing an understanding of the potential effects of global climate change. We outline two low-cost laboratory experiments that eloquently mimic the biochemical process of ocean acidification on two timescales, providing educators with hands-on, hypothesis-driven experiments that can easily be conducted in middle and high school biology or environmental science courses.

Kelley A. L., Hanson P. R. & Kelley S. A., 2015. Demonstrating the effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms to support climate change understanding. The American Biology Teacher 77(4):258-263. Article (subscription required).


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