Hi everyone, this is A reporting in. The rise in carbon dioxide emissions and its levels in the atmosphere don’t come as much of a surprise. But what’s happening to the Earth’s oceans?
As more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, the carbon levels in oceans go up too. As Carbon levels rise, the pH of the waters falls. (The pH is a measure of the acidity. The lower the pH the more acidic the substance.) In other words, our oceans are acidifying.
Corals which inhabit the oceans need calcium-carbonate to form skeletons much like other marine life which needs calcium-carbonate to form shells. As the levels of carbon change, corals and other marine life cannot use calcium-carbonate to make their shells/skeletons.
Thus, in the long run, this shift in acidity could very well result in the loss of many species of marine life and corals. In fact, many of the scientists at NSF believe coral reefs may disappear by the turn of the century!
Luckily, there is hope. It seems that coral reefs (particularly Porites and maybe others like them) may be finding a way to get around this rise in acidity. Scientists are discovering that increasing the amount of available food for the corals, allows them to increase their tissue mass and calcify, forming their skeletons.
Nonetheless, these changes in acidity may have adverse effects on our corals, waters, and the sustainability of our planet.
Based on the article “Trouble in Paradise: Ocean Acidification This Way Comes” by Cheryl Dybas. For more information on this and other discoveries visit: http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries.