Friday, September 13, 2013

Blog Post 1: Mixed Impacts on Ocean Life due to CO2

          The study of human activities and its effects on the environment is not exactly new news. Harmful gases from industry like CO2 have been examined time and time again, but in this Royal Society Publication, some insight has been revealed that surprised scientists. The study was based on the impact that rising levels of CO2 have upon marine life, specifically organisms called coccolithophores. Coccolithophores are a type of phytoplankton, or algae that are found in large numbers in the sunlight zone of the ocean. The hypothesis is that because of the levels of CO2, these organisms would fail to build strong enough shells, leading scientists to question the future for other marine life and ocean ecology. After a year long study was conducted, results helped conclude that despite the CO2 levels in the water (which elevates the temperature and makes the water more acidic), these organisms can adapt and still be able to develop strong shells. Scientist said that this study shed light on "the resilience of some species to on-going ocean acidification" which can lead to understandings to mass extinction in the past and to potential loss as well.

           This article may seem like a stretch to being relevant to social problems but it is in fact just that. This issue is one that the global population must be aware of because the ocean is a very large provider of food. Environmental legislation is a hard to enforce, specifically involving the ocean because it is not viewed as an owned territory, everyone uses it. The point is that because of human activity, CO2 levels are effecting ocean life, in this example the organism was fortunately able to adapt, but what does that mean for other organisms that can not? How will that effect the ocean's ecosystem if the levels end up nearly wiping out an entire species, say one that is a staple for a particular countries diet. Hunger is already a serious problem, can the world afford to lose more? Hopefully this study can help identify how to help other species if they are not able to adapt, leaving our fishing stock okay for now.

Breanna Steinke
Sept. 13 2013 8:34PM

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