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Posted Wed Dec 2 2009: from SolveClimate:
Increasing Ocean Acidification Is Tipping Fragile Balances within Marine Ecosystems
Falling pH levels are particularly harmful for calcifying organisms such as coral and shellfish, which have a harder time building and maintaining their calcium-based exteriors as the ocean grows more acidic.... In fact, some ocean researchers fear that acidification will obliterate Earth's coral reefs in as few as 50 years. That's why they have begun to design cryogenically cooled coral preservation "arks" where polyps can be stored to stave off total extinction.... Corals aren't the only species likely to be affected by the ongoing acidification of the world's oceans. According to marine ecologist Joanie Kleypas, ocean acidification could affect ocean life forms ranging from tiny algae to giant whales in unpredictable ways.... Damage to populations of the tiniest plants and creatures, whether through rising water temperature, greater acidity or loss of habitat, can spread through an entire food chain, throwing it out of balance. Consider, for example, the tiny pterapod, a marine snail whose shell is affected by changing pH. The pterapod is an important food source for young salmon, mackerel, herring and cod, which are important food sources for larger animals and economic sources for humans.
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, carbon emissions, death spiral]

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