Navigation Links
Oceans acidifying faster today than in past 300 million years
Date:3/2/2012

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
MariaJesus.Delgado@uab.cat
34-935-814-049
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Source:Eurekalert

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... SEATTLE , April 5, 2017  The Allen ... the Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic ... large-scale 3D imaging data, the first application of deep ... edited human stem cell lines and a growing suite ... the platform for these and future publicly available resources ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... focus on developing health and wellness apps that provide ... the Genome is the first hackathon for personal ... largest companies in the genomics, tech and health industries ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has ... Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on ... . In addition, CHS previously earned a place ... an electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS ... of EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of VetStem Biopharma, ... The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was held on ... DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., Chief of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... year’s recipients of 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have ... presented in a scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... four-tiered line of medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are ... of Kindred takes place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 ... of three scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank ... developments in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have ... within the structural biology community. The winners worked ... can now routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images ...
Breaking Biology Technology: