Ocean Acidification Will Kill Most Marine Life by the End of the Century
Marine life is having their habitats threatened by the increase of greenhouse gasses.
In particular, the new study shows that the overall temperature increase globally is threatening marine life because of pollution and drastic changes in their environment.
Plants and animals that have adapted to a specific environment have existed for millennia, so these drastic changes provided little time for species to adapt, therefore leading to mass extinction.
We are already seeing this extinction in coral reefs and it only gets worse from here.
Rise in pollutants like plastic and mercury in the ocean also contributes to the decrease in marine life by ruining habitats and killing marine organisms.
But, the greatest threat to marine life comes from ocean acidification.
Ocean acidification is believed to be responsible for reduced biodiversity and ecosystem services because it upsets the balance of the water in that ecosystem.
Carbonate is a necessary molecule for the building of coral and shells of marine animals, but when CO2 mixes with seawater, it releases hydrogen ions, which bonds to carbonate. This means that there is less carbonate for organisms to use, resulting in weaker shells and coral.
These hydrogen ions also make the ocean more acidic. It has been found that since humans have begun spewing CO2 out of factories and cars, the ocean has become 30% more acidic.
Ocean acidification has therefore been linked to an increase in the rate of extinction.
“The new findings suggest that the impact of sea level rise will be greater in areas that are vulnerable to the effects of ocean acidification,” says Yannick VanderLey, a professor of geoscience at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and one of the study’s co-authors.
“The findings also suggest that further research in the area of the most ocean acidification is a key area for the study of climate change.”