Cause And Effect Of Ocean Acidification

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From the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, humans have been increasing the amount of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere (Changes). This causes many different problems such as weather changes, major floods, global warming, and melting ice caps, in which scientist have been given the task of solving. In addition to these effects, CO2 emissions also cause very harmful, but less known problems in our oceans. High levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause oceans to absorb between 25 and 30 percent of mankind’s emissions (Barry). This rise in carbon dioxide results in the ocean becoming more acidic, creating a phenomenon called ocean acidification. Ocean acidification causes harm to the inhabitants of…show more content…
Over the last few centuries, it’s dropped to 8.1. Just that 0.1 drop in pH is already beginning to affect marine organisms (Photograph). Almost every kind of organism is going to be affected in the future if the ocean continues to be polluted. Two of the most affected by ocean acidification is coral and shellfish. They both have structures made out of calcium carbonate. The acid in the water causes their calcium carbonate shells and structures to grow at a slower rate, stop growing prematurely, and in places with a high concentration, they can corrode. Due to these effects, both of these organisms are much more vulnerable to other dangers. Coral is more susceptible to erosion from waves or other animals trying to eat it. This erosion would still be happening even without the acidic water, but it would be able to regrow as fast as it was destroyed. In addition, the coral is also affected in the larvae state. The larvae had trouble finding places to settle, making it hard to reach adulthood (Waters). For shellfish, the acidity creates similar problems. It makes them a lot easier to be crushed or eaten. Another big problem is that it makes it harder for creatures like mussels to cling on to rocks in the pounding surf. Unlike coral, shellfish have a harder time developing in the larvae state. Oyster larvae fail to begin to produce a protective shell at the young age that they are supposed to. This…show more content…
With ocean acidification, all the changes happened within the last 200 years, which is way too fast for any adaptations to occur. Take the temperature of water for example. Cold waters are naturally too acidic for marine calcifiers to survive, so they must stay in shallow depths known as the “saturation horizon”. However, these shallows are precisely where the absorbed carbon dioxide is going and the rise in acidity is going to shrink the depth of safe waters (Ocean). Normally it would take thousands and thousands of years to adapt to this change, but since these changes happened so quickly and will continue to do so, many organisms could potentially, and most likely will go
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