Navigation Links
Oceans acidifying faster today than in past 300 million years

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions, in addition to causing global warming, alter the chemistry of seas and oceans, causing them to turn progressively acidic. This change has severe effects on marine organisms and ecosystems. An international research published in the latest edition of the journal Science concludes that in the past 300 million years the chemistry of the Earth's oceans has undergone profound changes, although none seem to have been so rapid, so global, or to such an extent as the changes occurring presently.

The research included participation of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) of Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona (UAB), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), and reveals the magnitude and severity of the anthropogenic changes taking place in marine chemistry.

Analysis of Geological Records

Marine acidification occurs when CO2 emissions produced by human activities - mainly by the burning of fossil fuels - dissolve into the oceans. Over 30% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions go straight into the oceans, which are becoming progressively more acidic. Acidification harms many marine life forms and interferes with the development of shell-building species and those with calcium-carbonate skeletons, such as corals and molluscs. It also can affect phytoplankton species, which are an essential part of the marine trophic network feeding fish, crustaceans and other species.

Large part of the research into this subject is based on experiments carried out in aquariums simulating future acidifications which assess the response of organisms. This research however has analysed geological records using palaeontological and geochemical analyses and past acidification episodes to detect possible effects on marine biota.

Acidification and Large Scale Extinctions

The research detected specific moments in the history of the Earth associated with profound acidification, such as the PaleoceneEocene Thermal Maximum occurring some 56 million years ago. "Due to volcanic emissions and the destabilisation of frozen methane hydrates on the ocean floor, large amounts of carbon were freed into the atmosphere, comparable to levels humans may achieve in emitting in the future. Large extinctions took place during that period, especially of benthic fauna. Nevertheless, CO2 injections were at least ten times slower than those occurring now, which augurs more catastrophic consequences caused by current anthropogenic changes", states Carles Pelejero, researcher at the CSIC Institute of Marine Sciences and ICREA.

Geological records offer details on the biological changes associated with other large-scale global disturbances, such as that occurring after an asteroid hit Earth and marked the end of the Cretaceous Period, 65 million years ago, and which also is thought to be the cause of ocean acidification.

Other extinctions, such as the end of the Triassic Period 200 million years ago, and the end of the Permian Period, also could have been the cause of important acidification processes. However, all have been associated with reduced levels of oxygen in oceans and a high rise in temperatures as well. In fact, these three environmental factors are the ones most globally affecting oceans presently: global warming, acidification and decrease in oxygen.

"Considering the effects we detect through fossil records, there is no doubt that we must tackle the problem at its roots as soon as possible, adopting measures to immediately reduce our CO2 emissions into the atmosphere" concludes Patrizia Ziveri, researcher at ICTA.


Contact: Maria Jesus Delgado
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Related biology news :

1. Diatom genome helps explain success in trapping excess carbon in oceans
2. Dramatic expansion of dead zones in the oceans
3. Animal trackers collaborate on new Google Earth for oceans
4. Link between unexploded munitions in oceans and cancer-causing toxins determined
5. Dust deposited in oceans may carry elements toxic to marine algae
6. Public trust doctrine could aid management of US oceans
7. Genes from tiny algae shed light on big role managing carbon in worlds oceans
8. Harnessing cloud computing for data-intensive research on oceans, galaxies
9. Jellyfish joyride a threat to the oceans
10. Humans damaging the oceans
11. Methane gas likely spewing into the oceans through vents in sea floor
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015 Paris ... --> Paris , qui s,est ... DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a inventé le ... et empreintes sur la même surface de balayage. Jusqu,ici, ... l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un seul scanner ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Nov 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... developer of human interface solutions, today announced expansion ... Synaptics TouchView ™ touch controller and display ... architectural revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI products ... include TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... --  Growing need for low-cost, easy to use, ... the way for use of biochemical sensors for ... clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense applications. Presently, ... applications, however, their adoption is increasing in agricultural, ... on improving product quality and growing need to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Pittcon is pleased to ... presentations offered in symposia, oral sessions, workshops, awards, and posters. The core ... of applications such as, but not limited to, biotechnology, biomedical, drug discovery, environmental, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ANNAPOLIS, Md. , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, ... of Directors has adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights ... its net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 ... --> --> PharmAthene,s use of its ... an "ownership change" as defined in Section 382 of ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS; TSX: AEZ) ... remain fundamentally strong and highlights the following developments: ... DSMB recommendation to continue the ZoptEC Phase 3 ... final interim efficacy and safety data , ... with heavily pretreated castration- and Taxane-resistant prostate cancer ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds ... organisation (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing to ... margins but higher volume share for the region ... scale, however, margins in the CRO industry will ... Market ( ), finds that the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: