Coastal ocean acidification: carbonate chemistry and ecosystem effects

Overall, the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations from anthropogenic emissions has subsequently resulted in the acidification of the worlds surface ocean on the order of 0.1 pH units since preindustrial times (Zeebe, 2012). Eutrophication and other direct and indirect mechanisms can exacerbate the effects of acidification and hypoxia in coastal ecosystems, which serve as important habitats for many ecologically and economically important species of algae, fish, and shellfish (Gobler and Baumann, 2016; Baumann et al., 2015; Hofmann et al., 2010). Coastal ecosystems and their resident biota are therefore at a heightened risk to the effects of acidification and hypoxia, as these conditions are expected to increase in prevalence and magnitude throughout the next century as a consequence of continued CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentration projections of upwards of 1000 ppm (Strong et al., 2014; Hofmann et al., 2010). The switch from the coastal ocean from a net source to net sink of CO2 over the last century further complicates predictions for the extent to which future acidification schemes will alter seawater carbonate chemistry, and therefore there is a great need for more quantitative experimental determination of effects on coastal organisms at all levels of the marine food web.

Morrell B., 2018. Coastal ocean acidification: carbonate chemistry and ecosystem effects. Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.11289-8. Article (subscription required).


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