Humans have their way of leaving their own mark on nature and this doesn’t necessarily translate into a pathway to progress. Oceans have presently absorbed 30% of human-made carbon dioxide around the world and they have been storing dissolved carbon for hundreds of years.
Entire ecosystems are affected by human intervention, as the uptake of CO2 has increased in the last century. As an effect of that, the ocean’s food chain could be dramatically affected in the future.
This could mean fast and extreme degradation of the marine food chain. The microscopic marine plants also known as phytoplankton regulate key biogeochemical processes. Phytoplankton is designed to provide food for a wide spectrum of sea creatures including snails, jellyfish and whales. If carbon dioxide emissions don’t lower, phytoplankton could be dramatically changed by ocean acidification.
The masses of microscopic organisms are vital to the marine ecosystem and any change could influence the entire marine life chain of seas and oceans. Phytoplankton is now facing multiple environmental changes, as the pH of the oceans is in constant decline, caused by the continuous rising of atmospheric pCO2.
A recently published study states that increased ocean acidification will rise by 2100 and instigate a chain of responses in phytoplankton. Many of the known species will die while others, more resilient will flourish in a constant change of balance in plankton species all around the world.
Warm temperatures along with low nutrient supplies are factors which influence the life of underwater species all across the oceans. Phytoplankton is expected to migrate significantly to the poles, due to the constant increase in temperatures. The environment there is less affected by emissions and chemical changes that affect the inner structure of ecosystems.
In terms of real estimates, experts concluded that the acidity of oceans has been increasing on a rapid pace and the pH has been dropping from 8.2 to 8.1, expected to further lower to 7.8 by 2100. A consequence of that means a highly significant decrease for marine communities.
Changes at a microscopic level, namely the base of food chains and biologic communities will instigate a chain reaction, performing changes that will ultimately be felt by humans as well. According to the estimates, oceans all around the world have absorbed 30% of fossil fuel carbon emissions, as a dramatic effect of human activity. Further research and analysis along with field experiments are set to examine the response of marine life to acidification.
Image Source: serc.si.edu