This work provides the first confirmation of modelling and short-term laboratory experiments which predict severe reductions in the ability of marine organisms to build shells or skeletons from calcium carbonate due to the dramatic effects of CO2 on seawater chemistry. Seagrasses thrived at increased CO2 (Figure) levels but major groups such as corals, sea urchins and calcified algae were removed from the ecosystem and replaced by invasive species of algae. Such studies will help us to predict the future effects of ocean acidification and demonstrate, for the first time, what happens to marine ecosystems when key groups of species are killed due to rising CO2 levels.
Martin, S., Rodolfo-Metalpa, R., Ransome, E., Rowley, S., Buia, M.-C., Gattuso, J.-P. & J.M. Hall-Spencer (2008). Effects of naturally acidified seawater on seagrass calcareous epibionts. Biology Letters, 4: 689-692.
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