Need more study on CO2 effect on Marine Fauna: Researchers

Researchers have highlighted the need of conducting more research to check the response of ocean and ocean fauna to the human impact on climate change.

Created On: Aug 29, 2013 15:30 ISTModified On: Aug 29, 2013 15:32 IST

Researchers in the last week of August 2013 highlighted the need of conducting more research on the response of ocean and ocean fauna to the anthropogenic climate change. The need for the research was highlighted in three different studies published in the Nature Climate Change on 25 August 2013.

As per the research studies, oceans acting as a carbon dioxide sink absorbs a quarter of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, resulting in the formation of Carbonic Acid (H2CO3). The amount of CO2 observed by the ocean is directly proportional to the increase in the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, leading to formation of more H2CO3, which in turn results in acidification of the ocean.

The Three Study Reports

1. Study from the scientists of Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
The study from the scientists of Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research has highlighted the level of adaptability in different organisms and reported that corals and echinoderms (like starfish) faces fear of extinction over a period of time, may be by 2100.
Finds of the scientists from Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research is more applicable because these are based on the emission scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for drafting the fifth assessment report (to be released in September 2013).

Effects on About Corals

Corals that spend their complete life at one place lacks necessary physiological mechanism as a result of which it may not pay off to the higher acidity of ocean water. Calcium Carbonate secreted by these corals helps in creation of the coral reefs (most productive ecosystem). Higher acidification of the ocean and regular warming of climate may harm the formation of the reefs, leading to its extinction over a period of time.

2. Study from Researchers from Plymouth University, England

The study from the researchers and marine biologists from Plymouth University, England claimed that the ocean worms have developed genetic responses against the climatic change. Response of polychaete worms was studied, which lives around the carbon dioxide-rich volcanic vents off the southern coast of Italy. The study displayed a different genotype (this is the first time that the genetic adaptation of a complex animal species has been figured following its response to climate change).

3. Study of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg

The study figured out that acidification of Ocean reduced the amount of biogenic emissions of Sulphur compounds like dimethylsulphide. Dimethylsulphide generally plays a major role in cooling the atmosphere as it reduces the amount of solar energy that reaches to earth’s surface and its reduction would increase ocean acidification directly.
About Carbonic Acid (H2CO3) and its Role in Ocean Chemistry

Carbonic acid is the chemical compound with the formula H2CO3. It is also a name sometimes given to solutions of carbon dioxide in water (carbonated water). H2CO3 plays an important role in acidification of the ocean water and has lead to shift the pH value of the ocean by about 0.1 units from the pre-industrial levels.

Formation of Carbonic Acid      

  • CO2 + H2O = H2CO3

Carbonic acid is a weak acid and forms two kinds of salts, the carbonates and the bicarbonates.

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