Navigation Links
New study helps predict impact of ocean acidification on shellfish
Date:8/5/2012

An international study to understand and predict the likely impact of ocean acidification on shellfish and other marine organisms living in seas from the tropics to the poles is published this week (date) in the journal Global Change Biology.

Ocean acidification is occurring because some of the increased carbon dioxide humans are adding to the atmosphere dissolves in the ocean and reacts with water to produce an acid.

The results suggest that increased acidity is affecting the size and weight of shells and skeletons, and the trend is widespread across marine species. These animals are an important food source for marine predators such as tropical seabirds and seals as well as being a valuable ingredient in human food production. Consequently, these changes are likely to affect humans and the ocean's large animals.

UK scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), together with colleagues from Australia's James Cook and Melbourne Universities and the National University of Singapore, investigated the natural variation in shell thickness and skeletal size in four types of marine creatures living in 12 different environments from the tropics to the Polar Regions. Their aim was to get a clearer understanding of similarities and differences between species, and to make better predictions of how these animals might respond to increasing acidity in the oceans.

The effort required by clams, sea snails and other shellfish to extract calcium carbonate from seawater to build their shells and skeletons varies from place to place in the world's oceans. A number of factors, including temperature and pressure, affect the availability of calcium carbonate for species that produce carbonate skeletons.

There is already evidence that ocean acidification is affecting the ability of some marine species to grow, especially during their early life stages, and there is mounting concern about whether or not these species can evolve or adapt to cope with increases in acidity in the coming decades.

This study shows, over evolutionary time, animals have adapted to living in environments where calcium carbonate is relatively difficult to obtain by forming lighter skeletons. Carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion is altering seawater chemistry in the same way, in a process called ocean acidification and this is making it harder for marine animals to make shells and skeletons.

The four different types of marine animals examined were clams, sea snails, lampshells and sea urchins. Scientists found that as the availability of calcium carbonate decreases skeletons get lighter and account for a smaller part of the animal's weight. The fact that same effect occurs consistently in all four types suggests the effect is widespread across marine species, and that increasing ocean acidification will progressively reduce the availability of calcium carbonate.

Professor Lloyd Peck of British Antarctic Survey said,

"This effect is strongest at low temperatures and the results showed polar species to have the smallest and lightest skeleton, suggesting that they may be more at risk in the coming decades as the oceans change. Interestingly, where ecology requires animals to have strong skeletons - for instance to protect them from impacts from floating ice in Antarctica - skeletons are made thicker and stronger. However, they still form a smaller part of the animal's body mass, because the shape of the species changes to enclose much more body for a given amount of skeleton. Thus life finds a way, but still follows the overall trends of decreasing skeleton size in areas where the ocean chemistry makes it more difficult to obtain the necessary building blocks. If there is time for species to evolve in temperate and tropical regions it is one way they may be able to overcome some of the future effects of ocean acidification."

Dr Sue-Ann Watson, formerly of the University of Southampton and British Antarctic Survey (now at James Cook University) said,

"In areas of the world's oceans where it is hardest for marine creatures to make their limestone shell or skeleton, shellfish and other animals have adapted to natural environments where seawater chemistry makes shell-building materials difficult to obtain. Evolution has allowed shellfish to exist in these areas and, given enough time and a slow enough rate of change, evolution may again help these animals survive in our acidifying oceans."


'/>"/>

Contact: Athena Dinar
amdi@bas.ac.uk
44-012-232-21414
British Antarctic Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers invent new tool to study single biological molecules
2. Study shows how elephants produce their deep voices
3. Bacteria-immune system fight can lead to chronic diseases, study suggests
4. Study finds healthy seafood comes from sustainable fish
5. New study: Running mechanics, not metabolism, are the key to performance for elite sprinters
6. Cut emissions further or face risks of high air pollution, study shows
7. Study of zebra fish mouth formation may speak to Fraser syndrome hearing loss
8. $5 million grant awarded to UC Riverside to study immortality
9. To know a tiger is at least to start tolerating them, study shows
10. BUSM study identifies receptors role in regulating obesity, type 2 diabetes
11. Study associates excess maternal iodine supplementation with congenital hypothyroidism in newborns
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/18/2016)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Jan. 18, 2016 ... storage security software that simplifies the use and ... a technology and go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... "American Cyber brings extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR ... missions implementing and integrating the latest proven technology ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... ALBANY, New York , January 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transparency Market Research has published a new market report ... Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2023. According to ... mn in 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$1,625.8 ... from 2015 to 2023. In terms of volume, the ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... Calif. , Jan. 11, 2016 Synaptics ... human interface solutions, today announced that its ClearPad ® ... integration (TDDI) products won two separate categories in the ... Mobile Innovator and Best Technology Breakthrough. The Synaptics ® ... cost, a simplified supply chain, thinner devices, brighter displays ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... -- - New FDA action date of July ... date of July 22, 2016   --> ... 2016   - Lifitegrast has the potential ... the treatment of signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in ... be the only product approved in the U.S. in the past decade indicated for the ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Falls Church, VA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... a first-year cybersecurity conference presented by Bloomsburg University’s Digital Forensics Club, takes ... Bloomsburg, PA. The two-day event features 20+ speakers and activities such as ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... MENLO PARK, Calif. , Feb. 4, 2016 ... the "Company"), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and ... present at the 18 th Annual BIO CEO ... 10:00 a.m. EST in New York, NY ... CEO, will provide an update on the ongoing clinical trial ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016  Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: ... the fostering and monetization of intellectual property, today provided ... Uniden in the Northern District of Texas ... forward.  Inter Partes Re-examination ("IPR") ... Patent Office.  The IPR was initiated on only certain ...
Breaking Biology Technology: