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Posted Tue May 15 2012: from PhysOrg:
Scientists sound acid alarm for plankton
The microscopic organisms on which almost all life in the oceans depends could be even more vulnerable to increasingly acidic waters than scientists realised, according to a new study. Previous experiments have given an unduly optimistic view of the impact of acidifying oceans on plankton; it turns out that the methods used may have biased their results. "Plankton often grow in clumps or aggregates," says Professor Kevin Flynn of Swansea University, lead author of the study. "But the way they are handled tends to break these clumps up. When a scientists starts working on a plankton sample in the lab, the first thing they do is give it a good shake."... They found that if predictions of general ocean acidification come true, many kinds of plankton will face much more acidic conditions, and more widely varying conditions over each day, than previously realized - conditions far beyond anything seen in recent history. The results are likely to be stunted growth, or even death.... In another twist, as seawater gets more acidic, its capacity to protect against even more acidity diminishes, so general ocean acidification will increase the impact of the local acidification that plankton trigger.
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, carbon sequestration, unintended consequences, holyshit, ecosystem interrelationships, feedback loop]
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'Doc Jim says:
Whaddaya expect? Plankton're not cute.

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