1O species likely to suffer at the hands of ocean acidification
We all know carbon has contributed to climate change and global warming, but also another underexposed problem: ocean acidification.
Tiny changes in the chemical composition of the ocean can have huge consequences for marine life, especially those who make their homes out of calcium carbonate [poor molluscs and coral] which is less available in acidified waters.
1. Blue sea slug [Glaucus atlanticus] - feeds on the highly venomous Portuguese-man-of-war. Not the best food chain to unbalance…ouch!
2. Pterapods - the basis of the Antarctic food chain. If they start dissolving whales and polar bears have another problem to deal with.
3. Brittle stars - vulnerable to ocean acidification in both adult and larval forms.
4. Squid - acidic water has been found to interfere with squids’ blood making it harder for them to absorb oxygen.
5. Shrimp - represent an important part of food webs and ecological balance in all oceans.
6. Oysters - global populations have apparently suffered a sudden crash.
7. Sea Urchins - often overlooked for “sexier” species, even the ugly urchins have a critical role in maintaining reef ecosystems by eating algae, providing a healthy balanced reef.
8. Abalone - may not last the next 1OO years at the current rate of ocean acidification.
9. Coral - an obvious victim. The knock-on effects of more brittle or lack of coral structures are too vast and too scary to think of.
1O. Clownfish - been found to have a higher instance of deafness and increases in brash behaviour in acidified waters leading to poor defence against its numerous predators.