Friday, November 30, 2012

Strong Evidence for Ocean Acidification Impacts in Southern Ocean

Photo: Limacina helicina antarctica, a sea butterfly
Limacina helicina antarctica. Photo by Russ Hopcroft, courtesy of Arctic Ocean Biodiversity,

For years, researchers have warned that the increasing acidity of the oceans is likely to create a whole host of problems for the marine environment. Most of these warnings were predictions for future decades as well as theories about possible impacts based on experiments under artificial conditions. Now, scientists have discovered proof that ocean acidification is having significant impacts on an Antarctic marine snail, Limacina helicina antarctica, in its natural habitat. This tiny snail hails from a suborder called the “sea butterflies” because they flap their feet like wings as they swim. They’re also known as pteropods. Whatever you want to call them, they are an important component of marine food webs, and provide food for a variety of species.


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