Ocean acidifcation may impact algae by destroying their skeletons

It turns out that ocean acidification may impact oceans more than expected. Scientists have found that acidic oceans may weaken algal skeletons, reducing their performance and impacting other marine life further up the food chain.

The researchers made this latest discovery while working at volcanic vents in the Mediterranean, and then doing subsequent laboratory testing.

They found that three sites that they studied of high, medium, and low CO2 had evidence of the green algae, Acetabularia acetabulum, which is also known as “mermaid’s wineglass.” The researchers found that the algae varied from those with bright white “cups” at the low CO2 site to ones with bright green cups at the high CO2 site. Interestingly, those that were in acidic waters had a sheath of aragonite that was eroded and pitted. In addition, they were 32 percent less calcified.

“Based upon current forecasts, many calcified organisms will be corroded by acidified waters by the end of the century,” said Jason Hall-Spencer, one of the researchers, in a news release. “What this study shows is that a dramatic weakening of algal skeletal strength can have implications for performance, which in turn could transform an entire ecosystem.”

These findings are important to note when considering oceanic ecosystems, which may rely largely on algae. This study, in particular, shows that ecosystems as a whole may be in danger as waters continue to acidify with increased CO2 entering the atmosphere.

The findings are published in the journal Biology Letters.
Catherine Griffin, Science World Report, 12 September 2015. Article.

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: