Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



WATER WORLD
Ocean acidification study offers warnings for marine life, habitats
by Staff Writers
Vancouver, Canada (SPX) Nov 22, 2016


Sea grass beds and kelp forests, like these off the coast of Oregon, might buffer the impacts of ocean acidification. Image courtesy Christopher Harley, University of British Columbia. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Acidification of the world's oceans could drive a cascading loss of biodiversity in some marine habitats, according to research published in Nature Climate Change. The work by biodiversity researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and colleagues in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan and China, combines dozens of existing studies to paint a more nuanced picture of the impact of ocean acidification.

While most research in the field focuses on the impact of ocean acidification on individual species, the new work predicts how acidification will affect the living habitats, such as corals, seagrasses, and kelp forests, that form the homes of other ocean species.

"Not too surprisingly, species diversity in calcium carbonate-based habitats like coral reefs and mussel beds were projected to decline with increased ocean acidification," said UBC zoologist and biodiversity researcher Jennifer Sunday, who led the study. Species that use calcium carbonate to build their shells and skeletons, like mussels and corals, are expected to be particularly vulnerable to acidification.

"The more complex responses are those of seagrass beds that are vital to many fisheries species. These showed the potential to increase the number of species they can support, but the real-world evidence so far shows that they're not reaching this potential. This highlights a need to focus not only on individual species, but on how the supportive habitat that sets nature's stage responds and interacts to climate change."

The researchers combined data and observations from 10 field studies that measured the impact of underwater volcanic vents, which release carbon dioxide and mimic the conditions of future ocean acidification, on the density of habitat-forming species. They combined that data with 15 studies looking at how changes in habitat typically impact local species to make their predictions.

"We've known for a while that there will be big losers and some winners with climate change," said UBC marine ecologist Christopher Harley, senior author on the paper.

"We don't have time to measure the impact of climate change on each individual species, but using this approach allows us to make reasonable predictions. Now we have a much clearer picture of how some losers can drag biodiversity down with them, and how some other species might be able to help their habitat mediate a response to acidification.

"For example, in the Pacific Northwest, the number of medium to large-sized edible saltwater mussels is likely to decrease as the chemistry of our oceans changes, and this is bad news for the hundreds of species that use them for habitat," added Harley.

The researchers focused their study on the impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs, mussel beds, kelp forests, and seagrass meadows that form the homes of thousands of marine species. They used observations of altered habitats around the world to project how changes in these habitats brought on by ocean acidification will impact the number of species that each habitat can support.

The researchers were able to test their predictions against real-world data from two sites: a coral reef near Papua New Guinea, and a group of seagrass beds in the Mediterranean. In the case of the coral reef, the diversity and complexity of marine life in the area decreased as acidification increased. Despite predictions that the seagrass beds would fare well under increased levels of carbon dioxide, no increases in biodiversity was observed.

Because there are so few test sites to use to directly test the model, the authors want to expand on the approach.

Research Report


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
University of British Columbia
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
WATER WORLD
Kelp forests globally resilient, but may need local solutions to environmental threats
Corvallis OR (SPX) Nov 17, 2016
The first global assessment of marine kelp ecosystems shows that these critically-important habitats have exhibited a surprising resilience to environmental impacts over the past 50 years, but they have a wide variability in long-term responses that will call for regional management efforts to help protect their health in the future. Scientists noted that kelp forests have a remarkable abi ... read more


WATER WORLD
How to stop human-made droughts and floods before they start

After bloody year, Chicago looks to tougher gun laws

Tech would use drones and insect biobots to map disaster areas

New Zealand navy ships 'shellshocked' quake tourists to safety

WATER WORLD
Malawi could help secure raw materials for green technologies

Ice is no match for CSU-developed coating

Beautiful accident leads to advances in high pressure materials synthesis

2-D material a brittle surprise

WATER WORLD
Unraveling the mysterious source of methane gas in the ocean

Kelp forests globally resilient, but may need local solutions to environmental threats

Study finds less gloomy outlook for subtropical rainfall

Underwater video reveals culprits behind disappearance of NSW kelp forests

WATER WORLD
Probing Greenland's ice sheet for future satellites

Extremely Warm 2015-'16 Winter Cyclone Weakened Arctic Sea Ice Pack

Scientists prepare to find oldest ice on Earth

Iceberg patrol gains faster updates from orbit

WATER WORLD
DNA study unravels the history of the world's most produced cereal

Precut salad promotes salmonella growth: Study

Cutting food waste saves money for French supermarkets

Another species of Varroa mite threatens European honeybees

WATER WORLD
Seismologists warn of more quakes in New Zealand

Relieved tourists escape New Zealand quake town

Tears and beers as tourists recount NZ quake 'pandemonium'

Two dead after NZ quake, residents flee tsunami

WATER WORLD
US seeks UN arms embargo against South Sudan

Uganda nabs suspect in $120 mn fake arms deal

Africa waits and wonders on Trump's foreign policy

Mali coup leader readies for trial over massacre

WATER WORLD
Genes for speech may not be limited to humans

Traumatic stress shapes the brains of boys and girls in different ways

Neanderthal inheritance helped humans adapt to life outside of Africa

Evolution purged many Neanderthal genes from human genome




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement