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Glimpse into the future of acidic oceans shows ecosystems transformed
Date:7/8/2013

that acidic water reduced the number and variety of species. In the non-acidic plots, many different plants and animals, including turf algae, would colonize and grow. Calcareous species, such as sea urchins and snails, would then eat them, allowing for variety through time.

However, in both the high and extremely high acidic plots, fleshy turf algae increased steadily and overtook the zones, as the urchins and other grazers were either not present or did not graze on the algae while in these zones.

Calcareous grazers play key roles in maintaining the balance within marine ecosystems. They are also considered among the most vulnerable species to ocean acidification.

"Our research is showing that if the role of these grazers changes with ocean acidification, you might expect to see cascading effects of the whole ecosystem," Kroeker said. "If the pattern holds for other calcareous grazers, this has implications for other ecosystems, as well."


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Contact: Kristy Kroeker
kjkroeker@ucdavis.edu
831-566-8253
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert

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