The acidity of the water in the oceans is gradually increasing. How does it affect animals?

In early 2020, an international team of scientists found that the temperature of the water in the oceans has reached record levels. The exact cause of rapid heating so a large amount of water is still unknown, but scientists believe that this is the fault of human activity. Today, due to harmful emissions from cars and factories the air contains a lot of carbon dioxide and if he did not heat the water, it certainly increases its acidity. The world ocean is the habitat of thousands of living beings, therefore changes in their environment will certainly have an impact on their health. Therefore, the recent American zoologists decided to find out exactly how acidic water affects molluscs, crustaceans and fish.

The results of their study were published in the scientific journal Science of the Total Environment. In 2016, employees of the National oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA) went to the Pacific ocean. Off the West coast of North America they had collected larvae of the so-called Dungeness crabs (Metacarcinus magister). In previous studies, scientists have come to the conclusion that they are resistant to water with high acidity, but in the course of scientific work it was found out that even they get a very large damage.

The dangers of water with high acidity

Scientists have known that water with high acidity quickly disappear carbonates. These natural minerals are essential to the life of the inhabitants of the World ocean, as play an important role in the formation of the shells of most crustaceans creatures, and the teeth of fish. Examining crabs caught scientists noticed that even considered acid resistant animals suffered greatly from a lack of carbonates. In particular, we are talking about severe damage to shells, which they not only lost their protection from natural enemies, but also began to experience problems with coordination of movements.

Based on these observations, the scientists wondered if even the crabs get so heavy damage, what is going on with the other inhabitants of the seas and oceans? Finding the answer to this question has previously been studied by South African scientists. According to the journal Scientific Reports, from water with high acidity in addition to the crabs also suffer so-called leopard sharks (Haploblepharus edwardsii).

They found that in the experiment in which the sharks for nine weeks lived in water with high acidity. After the deadline, the scientists checked the condition of the scales of sharks and found that its outer layer has been severely disturbed. During the observations, the scientists noticed that some sharks can reduce the harm of acidic water by increasing the content of carbonates within the body, but forever to mine minerals they can’t.