Rising Carbon Dioxide in the Oceans Threatens Marine Life

Rising Carbon Dioxide in the Oceans Threatens Marine Life
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An international team of scientists has reported in the journal Nature that rising carbon dioxide (CO2) in the oceans is making the ocean waters more acidic and corrosive to the shells of tiny marine organisms. One major effect could be to threaten the food chain by damaging the shells of pteropods. "The demise of polar pteropods could provoke a chain reaction of events through complex ocean ecosystems," says a report released by the Max Planck Institute for Meterology. "It is known for instance that pteropods are eaten by organisms ranging in size from zooplankton to whales and including fish. For instance, North Pacific salmon include pteropods as part of their diet." The scientists compiled global ocean carbon data and input the data into numerical models to predict changes in ocean CO2 as the ocean absorbs excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Yes, your drive to work in the morning is not only a threat to pteropods, but to that grilled filet of salmon that you like so much. The lead author of the Nature article, Dr. James Orr, said, "Basic chemistry tells us that many folks alive today will live to see the polar oceans becoming inhospitable to key organisms, and unlike climate predictions, the uncertainties here are small."
Submitted by elementlist on Feb 26, 2006
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