Searching for the Ocean Acidification Signal – Smithsonian Ocean Portal Article

Searching for the Ocean Acidification Signal – Smithsonian Ocean Portal Article

Over that past century, the pH of the ocean has decreased from 8.2 to 8.1. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it represents a faster rate than at any time in the last 300 million years. The big question is: how will this affect marine ecosystems and organisms?

It’s not an easy question to answer. In the lab, scientists can set up a series of seawater tanks with a variety of pH levels to figure out how different species react to more acidic water, observing the structure of their shells, their metabolism, or their behavior. Or researchers can go to areas with naturally high carbon dioxide and acid levels, such as natural carbon dioxide seeps, to study how those ecosystems are faring. But learning from these experiments is not enough: to really understand how acidification will affect organisms, scientists need to observe it in the field.

Read more: Searching for the Ocean Acidification Signal – Smithsonian Ocean Portal

Photo: Alexander Semenov