Navigation Links
Run-off, emissions deliver double whammy to coastal marine creatures, UGA study finds

Athens, Ga. Increasing acidification in coastal waters could compromise the ability of oysters and other marine creatures to form and keep their shells, according to a new study led by University of Georgia researchers.

Their findings will be published in the November 2011 issue of Nature Geoscience. The researchers determined the combined effects of fertilizer runoff carried by the Mississippi River to the northern Gulf of Mexico and excess atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels result in an unexpected increase in the acidity of Gulf waters.

"Before, scientists only worried about low oxygen in waters along the coast," said Wei-Jun Cai, a professor of marine sciences in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "Our paper basically says not only do we need to worry about low oxygen, we also need to worry about acidification."

When plumes of river water rich with nutrients from fertilizer run into coastal waters, phytoplankton thrives. When these algae die, they sink to the sea floor and decompose, releasing carbon dioxide and decreasing the amount of oxygen in the water. The dissolved carbon dioxide reacts with water, forming an acid.

Ocean acidity also increases when excess carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels is absorbed from the air at the ocean's surface. The combination of these two sources of carbon dioxide decreases the ocean's ability to neutralize acid, increasing acidity beyond what would be expected from the sum of the individual processes.

As the water becomes more acidic, sea creatures that form carbonate shells or skeletonsfrom single-celled amoebae to oysters to coralsare less able to produce and maintain these structures. If the acidity of coastal waters continues to increase, Cai and his co-workers predict that by the end of the century these creatures won't be able to form shells.

"Many of our fisheries resources, especially shellfish, are concentrated in areas where rivers discharge onto the coast, like the northern Gulf and the East China Sea, and thus are at risk," said James T. Hollibaugh, UGA Distinguished Research Professor of marine sciences. "And of course there are likely ramifications for fish and animals further up the food chain that depend on these same shellfish for food."

Hollibaugh collaborated with Cai on the project, along with UGA post-doctoral researcher Xinping Hu, graduate students Wei-Jen Huang and Yongchen Wang and doctoral graduate Pingsan Zhao. Additional authors on the paper include Michael C. Murrell and John C. Lehrter of the Environmental Protection Agency Gulf Ecology Division; Steven Lohrenz of University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth; Wen-Chen Chou and Gwo-Ching Gong of the National Taiwan Ocean University; Weidong Zhai, Minhan Dai and Xianghu Guo of Xiamen University; and Kjell Gundersen of the University of Southern Mississippi.

Although their research focused on Gulf of Mexico coastal waters, they extended their findings globally by making the same measurements on the Changjaing (Yangtze) River, the largest river in Asia, where they found similar results.

To minimize future damage to the coastal ocean, Cai and his colleagues recommend that farmers better manage fertilizer use and societies limit fossil fuel use. Their future research will explore seasonal patterns of acidification and its influence on the coastal ecosystem.


Contact: Wei-Jun Cai
University of Georgia

Related biology news :

1. Production of biofuel from forests will increase greenhouse emissions
2. Links in the chain: Global carbon emissions and consumption
3. Ionic liquid catalyst helps turn emissions into fuel
4. Steep increase in global CO2 emissions despite reductions by industrialized countries
5. Study finds crop performance matters when evaluating greenhouse gas emissions
6. Wastewater recycling can multiply greenhouse gas emissions
7. Wood products part of winning carbon-emissions equation, researchers say
8. Switch from corn to grass would raise ethanol output, cut emissions
9. ARS and cooperators study cotton gin dust emissions
10. Consumption, carbon emissions and international trade
11. Scots carbon emissions could be halved in decades, study suggests
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... ARBOR, Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Eurofins Genomics for U.S. distribution of its DNA ... DNA-seq kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ... to enable the preparation of NGS libraries for ... plasma for diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... YORK , Oct. 27, 2015 In ... major issues of concern for various industry verticals such ... is due to the growing demand for secure & ... in various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, ... for electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... Calif. and LAS VEGAS ... Nok Nok Labs , an innovator in modern authentication ... , today announced the launch of its latest version ... unified platform enabling organizations to use standards-based authentication that ... Nok Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal for organizations ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)...  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services ... that the company has set a new quarterly earnings record in ... growth posted for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... , with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific ... United Kingdom and Mexico , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital brought ... pitch their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , Now, ... the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl 50, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... November 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced today ... the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> ... Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual ... on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... TEL AVIV, Israel , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. ... be held on December 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel ... & Co., Electra Tower, 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, ... , election of Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir ... and Rami Skaliter as external directors; , approval of an ...
Breaking Biology Technology: