Ocean acidification is becoming a major threat in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Researchers say that this weird phenomenon commonly attacks during nights.
The ocean is starting to need more carbon dioxide, therefore, the water is becoming more acidic, and sadly creatures like mollusks and oysters are struggling to create their own shell made out of calcium carbonate.
Scientists monitoring tidal pools in California found ocean acidification exacerbates natural chemical changes that happen overnight.
During the day, photosynthesis limits the levels of CO2 in tidal pools, but at night, the respiration of plants and animals boosts CO2 levels. During low tides at night, tidal pools often became corrosive to shells and exoskeletons made of calcium carbonate.
Words from the researchers
Lead author of the study, Lester Kwiatkowski, a researcher at the Carnegie Science Foundation said in a news release that unless carbon dioxide emissions are rapidly curtailed, they expect ocean acidification to continue to lower the pH of seawater. He also said that this work highlights that even in today’s temperate coastal oceans, calcifying species, such as mussels and coralline algae, can dissolve during the night due to the more-acidic conditions caused by community respiration.
These results show the vulnerability of marine species in even the most dynamic conditions to the global process of ocean acidification.
Co-author, Ken Caldera added “If what we see happening along California’s coast today is indicative of what will continue in the coming decades, by the year 2050 there will likely be twice as much nighttime dissolution as there is today”
Nobody really knows how our coastal ecosystems will respond to these corrosive waters, but it certainly won’t be well.
The study was a collaborative effort by the Carnegie Institution for Science, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz. This work was funded by the Carnegie Institution for Science, UC Multicampus Research Initiatives and Programs and the National Science Foundation.