Millero, Grosell and Wilson, who was the recipient of the University of Miami's prestigious 2005 Rosenstiel Award, along with Rosenstiel School Marine Biology and Fisheries graduate student Josi Taylor collaborated with other British and Canadian scientists to reach the conclusion published in the current issue of Science.
The researchers suggest that fish carbonates dissolve much faster than those produced by plankton, and at depths of less than 1,000 m. Less soluble carbonates, produced by plankton, are more likely to sink further and become locked up in sediments and rocks for tens or hundreds of millions of years before being released. Fish carbonates, on the other hand, are likely to form part of the 'fast' carbonate system by more rapidly dissolving into seawater.
"As a marine chemist who has been studying the global carbon cycle and its impacts on the pH of the water and marine ecosystems for 40+ years, these results offer an important piece of the equation," said Millero, professor of Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry at the Rosenstiel School. "By working with scientists in several disciplines we were able to come at this from different perspectives and combine data sets that hadn't been previously used together, to solve this problem. We can now employ the knowledge gained from this study to examine how ocean acidification due to the adsorption of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels affects the ocean carbon system."
The combination of future increases in sea temperature and rising CO2 will cause fish to produce even more calcium carbonate, which is in sharp contrast to the response by most other calcium carbonate producing organisms. Fish's metabolic rates are known to increase in warmer waters, and this study explains how this will also accelerate the rate of carbonate excretion. In addition, ou
|Contact: Barbra Gonzalez|
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science