How does carbon dioxide affect sea urchins?

How does carbon dioxide affect sea urchins?

(Phys.org)-- Increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere are causing the oceans to become more acidic. This situation poses a threat to marine organisms with shells made of calcium carbonate because acid will corrode these shells. However, some species of marine animals have evolved ways to cope with a more acidic ocean and include hyperaccumulators that extract calcium carbonate from the water for use in making their shells.

In a new study published in Environmental Science &; Technology, researchers report on an unusual form of shell deposition seen in two different species of sea urchin exposed to air with high concentrations of CO2. They found that the urchins incorporated the gas into their shells rather than using it as a source of fuel for respiration. This indicates that the urchins were able to detect the presence of CO2 and adjust their shell formation processes accordingly.

--"Carbon Dioxide Affects Sea Urchins by Altering Shell Formation" was written by Jessica Fleischauer et al. and published in Environmental Science &; Technology.

--"Hyperaccumulation of Carbon Dioxide by Two Species of Sea Urchin (Evechinus chloroticus and Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis)" was written by Jessica Fleischauer and published in Environmental Science &; Technology.

How does ocean acidification affect wildlife?

Ocean acidification can harm marine life by dissolving the shells and skeletons of creatures formed of calcium carbonate. To live, animals that manufacture calcium carbonate structures must use extra energy either mending or strengthening their shells. This may lead to changes in their behavior-for example, by moving closer to shore where it is easier to find food-or extinction. These effects are expected to get worse as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases.

Some species will be able to adapt faster than others. For example, birds and mammals that build their shells or bones from different materials than calcium carbonate will be less affected by ocean acidification. Also, those with limited mobility will be at risk if they cannot move away from harmful conditions. However, many species do not have these advantages so will suffer more severe effects of ocean acidification.

Marine ecosystems contain a large number of organisms with different abilities to cope with changing environmental conditions. Some species will be able to adapt faster than others, but for many there will be no change in pace with which ocean acidification affects them. In addition, some species will be able to move closer to shore where the pH levels are better, while others will have to travel further out into more acidic waters-this will also affect their ability to pass on their genes.

Why is carbon so important in seawater?

When carbon dioxide combines with saltwater, it reduces the availability of carbonate ions, which are required by many marine species, including corals, marine plankton, and shellfish, to create their shells. This process is called calcification.

The amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere has increased from about 280 parts per million (ppm) before the start of the Industrial Revolution to more than 400 ppm today. The average temperature of the ocean has also risen, causing it to absorb more CO2.

As CO2 levels increase, so does the acidity of water. Water is considered "acidic" if its pH is less than 7. The most acidic body of water on Earth is known as "Marlowe Lake", and its pH is 2.52. More commonly, people think of vinegar when they imagine an acid. Acids can remove minerals from rocks and bones, but they also harm metals like iron and zinc. If you put acid into your pool or hot tub, it will cause their plaster to dissolve.

CO2 is also very effective at dissolving calcium carbonate, the main component of seashells and coral.

Is carbon dioxide bad for aquatic animals?

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere impact marine species in a variety of ways. The main disadvantage of a more acidic ocean is the effect it would have on species that make calcium carbonate shells, such as corals, sea urchins, and mollusks. As CO2 levels increase, so does acidity. More acidic waters can cause chemical changes to the bone material found in these organisms' shells, which may weaken or even destroy them.

Some species are able to adapt to changing conditions, but many will not be able to keep up with rapid environmental changes. That's why scientists worry about increasing amounts of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the world's oceans because it could lead to more acidic waters that would be detrimental to a large number of species.

Furthermore, higher concentrations of carbon dioxide mean that there is less oxygen available for fish to breathe. Fish require oxygen to live and if it is not available in sufficient quantities then they will die. This is known as "oxygen depletion" and it is another danger that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide are causing to marine animals.

At this time, there aren't any official estimates regarding how many animals might be affected by ocean acidification, but scientists predict that it could be a huge problem for certain species. Ocean acidification is likely to become a bigger issue as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to rise.

About Article Author

Daniel Cifuentes

Daniel Cifuentes is a nature lover and enjoys taking photos of plants and trees. He's been interested in the environment for as long as he can remember, and he's worked hard to learn as much as he can about it. He loves sharing his love for nature with others by posting photos on social media platforms or providing articles on topics such as recycling or climate change.

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