Ocean acidification and its effects on marine wildlife

Ocean acidification is the process in which carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere absorbs in water to produce calcium carbonate. With the rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and the ocean being a carbon sink, ocean acidification remains a threat to the various forms of marine wildlife, specifically, the shark population. The effects of ocean acidification have the potential to damage shark physiology by altering their blood chemistry and overall neurology. This could result in the imbalance of the ocean’s natural order and food chain due to the distress from these apex predators. When analyzing the experiments that have been done to test the effects of acidity on sharks, the results showed that there was a significant decrease in oxygen to the brain. These experiments also revealed the dangers that ocean acidification could have on marine species with exoskeletons. Exoskeletons are able to easily dissolve when exposed to large amounts of calcium carbonate -the chemical made from the mixture of CO2 and seawater. – Some important species that possess exoskeleton are coral reefs. Coral reefs are known to be the habitats for an abundance of species, including sharks. When it comes to determining who is responsible for the rise of ocean acidification, it has been declared a global problem that requires a mass amount of global effort to reverse.

Phillips M., 2020. Ocean acidification and its effects on marine wildlife. Horizons 5(1): 22. Article.

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