Rising Ocean Acidity Threatens Marine Life Fertilisation
The Greek sea God, Poseidon must have been having a bad year, as well as the past 365,000 years I believe.
Because not only are the jellyfishes taking over the ocean (caused by the rising sea temperature), and the devastating damage to important reefs all over the world but now the significant rise of acidity level in the ocean could eliminate the colonies of sea organism such as mussels, sea urchins, lobsters and oysters as well.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - 15th August, 2008 - Rising acidification of the ocean could reduce fertilisation of marine invertebrates and might eventually wipe out colonies of sea urchins, lobsters, mussels and oysters, according to a study
Climate change and the subsequent acidification of the world's oceans will significantly reduce the successful fertilisation of certain marine species.
For years, marine scientists knew that the acidification of ocean could dissolve away shells of marine crustaceans such as lobsters and oysters.
But recent study shows that the rising acidity not only affect the shells but also prevented the marine eggs to be fertilised. Therefore hurting the reproduction percentage of marine species to an all time low. And it will only worsen through the years.
Lead-scientist Jane Williamson from Macquarie University told Reuters that;
"We were completely surprised becuse people had been looking at the effect of acidification on calcified structures of marine animals, but there was no evidence to suggest it was affecting non-calcified structures, like a a sperm or an egg."
The ocean acidification which is expected to expand and spread north from Antartic by year 2100 has made it impossible from building of shells and skeletons for some marine animals as well as making coral reefs struggled to survive (and vulnerable as they could be wiped out by tropical storms).
By 2100, it is expected that some reefs will become marginal and reef calcification will decline
The cause of this acidity is created by excess atmospheric carbon dioxide (Co2) which dissolves into the ocean waters and forms carbonic acid (weak acid).
The current Co2 level are much higher since the start of Industrial revolution in the 19th century which reported a 30% rise then. However by the end of 21st century, the level of Co2 could go up to 150% in the atmosphere.
The experiment found that in water with acidity at 7.7, the sperm swam much more slowly and began failing to meet the eggs.
Fertilisation fell by 25 percent and in almost 26 percent of cases where eggs were fertilised they did not survive to develop into larvae.
And this concertrated acidity level of 7.7 are already detected and observed in patches of oceans in the West Coast of the United States.
In the Greek myth, Poseidon used to live in the depths of the seas, bejewelled with precious reefs and surrounded by marine lifes -- now, he would see what a different place the oceanic world has become and one day, all that is life would be barren and gone.
(NP contributor Emilio Lizardo has also written a similar topic on this about Coral Reef's Catastrophe)