BIODIVERSITYENVIRONMENTClimate Change Deteriorates Ocean Floor, Diminishes Marine Population

Maureen SantosNovember 15, 20183627 min

The Earth is wrapped by the harmful effects of climate change from top to bottom.

Climate change causes heat waves, extreme storms, and wildfires that continue to ravage California’s forests. A new research indicates that the effects of global warming stretch all the way to the ocean floor.

The research was published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” on Oct. 29. It reveals that carbon dioxide in high levels confines the greenhouse gas which is a major provider to the planet’s warming climate. The warm climate made the North and South Atlantic Ocean very acidic making the chalky white mineral that composes the ocean bed to disintegrate.

No study was conducted on the ocean floor but lead researcher Olivier Sulpis from McGill University in Montreal replicated seafloor situations in a lab. The model presented that calcite,  a type of calcium carbonate is dislodged by cloudy, dark deposits.

Calcite is composed of shells and skeletons of marine species buried on the seabed for millions of years now. The deterioration of the mineral will serve more than a decorative matter. It functions as a chemical barrier that neutralizes the carbonic acid from forming when carbon dioxide leaks from the atmosphere to the sea. The counteraction helps avoid loose seawater acidification.

Ocean acidification is harmful to marine species from the tiniest plankton to the biggest blue whale. During the Permian-Triassic Extinction Period (almost 250 million years ago), acidic oceans surprisingly send over 90% of sea creatures to extermination.

Due to cars and factories that discharge too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, give calcites a hard time to sustain.

According to Sulpis, the slow exhaustion of calcite matters because it is possible to cease anytime soon. Even though carbon emissions stopped today, it will take hundreds of years for the exuberance to refrain from breaking down.

The decline in the number of most marine animals are due to climate change as well and not to overfishing especially on the East Coast. The warming habitat is the chief source of the downturn in the population of ocean species.

Researchers concluded the slump in the yield of four commercially essential types of shellfish in coastal areas from Maine to North Carolin. These species of shellfish include northern bay scallops, northern quahogs, eastern oysters, and softshell clams. Their findings pointed to the warming ocean habitat and the changing climate.

The warm climate makes shellfish more vulnerable to predators, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shellfish researcher Clyde MacKenzie.

“Their predation rate is faster in the warmer waters. They begin to prey earlier, and they prey longer into the fall.  These stocks have gone down,” MacKenzie noted.

MacKenzie collaborated with Maryland Department of Natural Resources shellfish biologist Mitchell Tarnowski. They noticed that the yield of eastern oysters from Connecticut to Virginia dropped from roughly 600,000 bushels in 1960 to not more than 100,000 in 2005. The harvest of the four shellfish species plunged from 1980 to 2010 following the years of steadiness from 1950 to 1980.

Both researchers disclosed that a positive shift fluctuation in the North Atlantic Oscillation resulted in the deterioration of shellfish environment. The oscillation is an erratic variation of atmospheric pressure that affects weather and climate. This, in turn, affects events such as shellfish reproduction and food convenience.

All living things are affected by climate change. If people won’t care to even alleviate its harmful effects, then who will? Animals and plants are learning to adapt in their ever-changing environment to survive. Will humans do as well? People play a big part in the greenhouse effect because of the advancement in technology. They should not, however,  rely on reports that the ozone layer is already healing whether its true or not.

The research pinpoints climate change as the cause of the drop in the marine species population and not overfishing. Do you agree?

Maureen Santos

She lets everyone become aware of what is happening to our beloved planet Earth and its inhabitants. She can take you beyond the space and find out how neighbor planets are doing. Moreover, she would open your eyes to the things what makes the Earth suffer including the living species and allow you to decide what you can do to help save the planet and the future generation.

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