Rising Acidity Dissolving Ocean Animals

First evidence of affected mollusks

An ocean reef.

An ocean reef.     Photo: Derek Keats

A new study indicates that man-made ocean acidification is already eating away at animals in the Southern Ocean. "This is actually happening now," said study author Geraint Tarling of the British Antarctic Survey.

Researchers collected sea snails from the Southern Ocean in 2008, and subsequent analysis has shown that the creatures' shells are actively being corroded by falling pH, which is dropping faster than at any time in the last 300 million years. The acidification is the result of increased CO2 in the atmosphere, which forms carbonic acid as it is absorbed by the ocean. Although models have predicted that marine life will suffer from rising acidity, this is the first evidence that mollusks are already being affected.

Via New Scientist

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