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Seagrass can provide localized protection against ocean acidification

Seagrass can provide localized protection against ocean acidification

Science
July 31 (UPI) -- Seagrass could serve as a local buffer against ocean acidification, protecting vulnerable species against rising levels of carbonic acid. In addition to providing food and shelter to a variety of marine organisms, seagrass also absorbs carbon dioxide as it performs photosynthesis. Researchers with the Carnegie Institution for Science designed to models to measure whether a seagrass meadow's carbon uptake abilities could lower pH levels. The models accounted for grass density, photosynthetic activity, water depth, currents and a variety of other factors. The results, detailed in the journal Ecological Applications, suggests seagrass can have a small, local effect on ocean acidity. "Local stakeholders, such as California's shellfish industry, want to know whether seagrass m...
How ocean acidification weakens coral skeletons

How ocean acidification weakens coral skeletons

Science
Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The ongoing acidification of Earth's oceans is a threat to a variety of marine organisms, including coral, the backbone of many diverse ecosystems.According to a new study published this week in the journal PNAS, acidification is curbing coral's ability to reinforce the strength of its skeleton through thickening."Our research incorporates the nuances of coral skeletal growth, enabling more precise projections of how, where, and by how much, ocean acidification will affect tropical reef-building corals," Nathaniel Mollica, an oceanography at the Woods Hole Institute in Massachusetts, said in a news release.Lab experiments attempting to measure the effects of acidification on corals have offered varied results, but the latest research suggests such confusion is a product of...
Ocean acidification altering the architecture of California mussel shells

Ocean acidification altering the architecture of California mussel shells

Science
Jan. 5 (UPI) -- California mussels aren't built like they used to be. According to new research, increasing ocean acidification is altering the structural makeup of mussel shells along the West Coast.Traditionally, long, cylindrical calcite crystals for neat and predictable rows in the shells of California mussels, Mytilus californianus. But as detailed in a new study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, that geometric consistency is no more."What we've seen in more recent shells is that the crystals are small and disoriented," study leader Sophie McCoy, assistant professor of biological science at Florida State University, said in a news release. "These are significant changes in how these animals produce their shells that can be tied to a shifting ocean chemistry."Scientists ...
Ocean acidification harms young mussels

Ocean acidification harms young mussels

Science
Nov. 22 (UPI) -- New research shows mussels are especially vulnerable to the ill effects of ocean acidification during their early life stages.Mussels form a calcareous shell to protect themselves from predators. Ocean acidification disrupts this process. The latest research offered scientists new insights into the ways a decline in pH disrupts the calcification process during a mussels' larval stages."For the first time, we used two different methods to understand the calcification of one to two-day-old shelled larvae to estimate their sensitivity to climate change," Kirti Ramesh, a doctoral student in ecophysiology at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, said in a news release. "With the help of fluorescent dyes and specialized microscopy techniques, we were able to track the de...