Westminster, Colo. (August 5, 2010) It has been widely reported that the build up of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, which is caused by human behavior, will likely lead to climate change and have major implications for life on earth. But less focus has been given to global warming's evil twin, ocean acidification, which occurs when CO2 lowers the pH of water bodies, thus making them more acidic. This lesser known phenomenon may have catastrophic effects on all sea life.
Oysters in Peril
Inna Sokolova, associate professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, studies the affect of high carbon dioxide on oyster survival, growth and shell hardness. The results of her research suggest that creatures once thought to be fairly adaptable to changes in the environment, may be in serious trouble.
Sokolova's research team includes Anna Ivanina and Ilya Kurochkin also from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Nicholas Lieb and Elia Beniash from the Department of Oral Biology at the University of Pittsburg. Their research findings will be reported by Sokolova at the Global Change and Global Science: Comparative Physiology in a Changing World conference from August 4-7, 2010 in Westminster, Colorado. This conference is sponsored by the American Physiological Society (http://www.the-aps.org). The full conference program is found at http://www.the-aps.org/meetings/aps/comparative/preprogram.htm.
The research group monitored oysters that were kept in high CO2 conditions. Juvenile oysters were affected the most by high CO2 conditions. These young oysters grow at a faster rate than the adults and need to use more energy for survival. There was a higher chance that juvenile oysters would die if kept in high CO2. They also had re
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American Physiological Society