Acidification: The Importance Of Coral Reefs In The Ocean

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Our Earth consists of many of many different components, such as land, animals, air, etc. and lately a lot of our attention has been brought to pollution and the state in which our Earth and atmosphere is in. Our ocean covers seventy one percent of the earth’s total surface area and plays a major role in our Earth’s atmosphere. (Hoegh-Guldberg, 2010) Acidification has been one of the many components that has been leading to the destruction of our surrounding oceans. (Doney, 2008) Due to the overload of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, it becomes impossible for trees to absorb all of it. Oceans have absorbed about thirty percent of the carbon dioxide that has been emitted into the atmosphere. (Logan, 2010) Acidification is when pH levels in the ocean begin to decrease leading to devastating effects. Carbon dioxide levels have increased about forty percent since the preindustrial times. (Doney, 2008) Coral reefs is a major organism within the ocean that experience the terrible effects of acidification. Coral reefs and the many organisms that live within them require well balanced pH levels in order to stay alive. Levels in pH have changed drastically, pH has fallen .11 from about 8.21 to 8.10 and is expected to continue to fall .3 to .4 pH units. (Doney, 2008) The importance of coral reefs to the ecosystem can not be overstated. Coral reefs are a…show more content…
For example, the brittle stars who are Echinoderm experience decreased muscle movement, although it may not seem like a lot this can be deadly for this species. Brittle stars need muscle movement for arm movement, respiration, and feeding, without these the brittle star can die. (Doney, 2008) On the other hand, some species actually benefit from excessive carbon dioxide. The temperate starfish fed more and grew quicker than the brittle star. (Kleypas, 2009) Having organisms that continue to live unbalanced can seriously impact coral
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