Ocean Acidification: Negative Impacts on Shellfish

1814 Words8 Pages
Global climate change has been the topic of heated debates and scientific studies for over a decade. While many discoveries have been made as a result of scientific research, and while many people are far more environmentally conscious and aware of the crisis that we face with global climate change, there are still many unknowns regarding the overall effects that global climate change will have on the earth. A specific area of study that contains many unknowns is ocean acidification (OA). While OA is largely a result of the factors that contribute to global climate change, it is still a foreign issue to people worldwide, despite being studied by scientists for more than three decades (NOAA 2014). Fortunately, scientific research is beginning to shine a public spotlight on OA. The beginning of the industrial revolution resulted in an increase in the amount of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere due to an increase in industrial and agricultural productions. The ocean absorbs approximately 32% of the CO2 that is released from burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere each year, and thus the dramatic increase in atmospheric CO2 is coupled with an equally drastic increase of CO2 absorbed by the ocean. Ocean acidification is simply the process of the chemical change in seawater caused by the absorption of CO2 (Schlesinger & Bernhardt, 1997). As CO2 is absorbed into the ocean, it undergoes a chemical reaction that creates an unfavorable environment for many marine organisms. Carbon dioxide reacts with water (H2O) to form carbonic acid (H2CO3). Carbonic acid then rapidly dissolves to form hydrogen ions (H+) and bicarbonate ions (HCO3-). The ocean is naturally saturated with carbonate ions (CO3−2) whic... ... middle of paper ... ...ty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms." Nature 437, no. 7059 (2005): 681-686. Schlesinger, William H. Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change. San Diego, CA: Academic, 1997. Print. WaldGeorge G., Erin P. Voigt, Heather Bergschneider, Mark A. Green Roger I. E. Newell et al. “Biocalcification in the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) in Relation to Long-term Trends in Chesapeake Bay pH.” Estuaries and Coasts (2011) 34:221–231. Wanninkhof, Rik., Pierrot, Dennis.(2013). Coastal Observations on the East Coast: Ocean Acidification Monitoring Network. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from NOAA Ocean Acidifcation Program. Whitman Miller, A., Reynolds, Amanda C., Sobrino, Cristina , & Riedel, Gerhardt F. 2009. Shellfish Face Uncertain Future in High CO2 World: Influence of Acidification on Oyster Larvae Calcification and Growth in Estuaries. PLOS.

More about Ocean Acidification: Negative Impacts on Shellfish

Open Document