Study finds mussels growing stronger shells to combat increasing acidity

New research by a team at the University of Glasgow has found that mussels are growing stronger shells to fight increasing ocean acidity, reports Asia One.

The team found that mussels are producing more amorphous calcium carbonate as a repair mechanism, possibly as their way of adapting to a changing sea.

The study, led by Susan Fitzer of the School of Geography and Earth Sciences, found mussels to have reduced growth and altered material properties when grown under future projected ocean acidification conditions. Their shells became harder and less elastic, making them being more prone to fracture in stormy environments and more vulnerable against predators.

Many marine animals produce protective shells and exoskeletons from calcium carbonate in seawater, but higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in seawater is making it more acidic and weakening these shells.

“With growth in global industrialization, the surface pH of the oceans has declined form pH 8.1 to pH 8.0, meaning the water is less alkaline. Increasing CO2 leads to ocean acidification and scientists expect a further reduction in alkalinity from pH 8.0 to pH 7.7 by the end of the 21st century,” the university team said.

Undercurrent News, 17 February 2016. Article.

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