How does carbon dioxide cause ocean acidification Select a lesson
 

Ocean acidification as an environmental issue children
Meaning of ocean acidification
facttors that contribute to ocean acidification
the consequences of the oceans becoming acidic
Solutions to ocean acidificationocean acidification factsheet

Ocean acidification as an environmental issue children
SUGGESTED LESSONS
Genetic engineering
Green energy
crude oil
Effects of overfishing
Water shortage
climate change
DeforestationThe ozone layer
Waste managementWhat is an ecosystemWhat is the earth system
Types and formation of landformsWhat is a cloud




The oceans pH levels



How does Ocean Acidification impact us?

The oceans provide extraordinary ecosystem services to societies, food, regulation services (carbon absorption), cultural and recreation as well as nutrient recycling.

Below are some ways that ocean acidification impacts us:

ocean acidityMarine Calcifiers:
Some marine ecosystems, particularly those that use Calcium Carbonate to build their shells (such as coral and oyster reefs) could change with increasing ocean acidity. These species are called calcifiers.

coral reefs
“In a future ocean that continues to absorb excess CO2 from industrial emissions, deforestation, and other human activities, sensitive species could lose their protective shells and eventually die out, while other species that build stronger shells could become dominant.” Source: Ocean acidification: A risky shell game, 6 OCEANUS MAGAZINE Vol. 48, No. 1, 2010 www.whoi.edu/oceanus

Shellfish and reef-forming corals are all at risk from the slightest drop in pH. Less survival of these species mean less or diminishing coral reef systems. More importantly, these form the habitats of many algae and phytoplankton, which form the basis of all marine ecosystems.

ocean acidityBiogeochemical cycles:
The oceans play a massive role in the carbon cycle, by absorbing co2 from the upper layers and transporting them to the ocean beds for storage. This is possible by phytoplankton absorbing the co2 and sunlight to produce O2 and Carbohydrates. This is called the ‘biological carbon pump’. The efficiency of the pump depends on the amount of co2 absorbed and the calcium carbonate that are produced. Acidic waters reduce the biological component that absorbs the co2, thereby reducing the ocean's capacity to perform its role as a carbon sink.

ocean acidityShell marine animals (Pteropods):
Acidic oceans may be corrosive to shell animals in the ocean. It is known that shells of some small marine snails in the southern ocean around the Antartica are already dissolving, potentially altering the food webs of that region. Source: Ocean Acidification, Summary for Policymakers,
Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World. UNESCO


ocean acidity
Economic Losses:
Molluscs and Oyster larvae are among the species that have been extensively studied under ocean acidification. It is estimated that by 2100, losses due to declines in mollusk production from ocean acidification may be around $130 billion USD. Note that the cultural, spiritual and educational value of the awesome coral reef systems may all be affected, including the shifts that will occur if the acidification continues.
Ocean Acidification. Summary for Policymakers. Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, Page 10 http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002247/224724E.pdf

Previous pageGo to next page

cabon dioxide absorption by the ocean