London, April 19 (ANI): Scientists have discovered that some plankton can thrive in acidic oceans, wApril 19th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by admin
London, April 19 (ANI): Scientists have discovered that some plankton can thrive in acidic oceans, which are a result of increased levels of carbon dioxide.
According to a report in New Scientist, this was discovered by Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez from the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, UK, and her colleagues.
Most life in the ocean will suffer as carbon dioxide levels increase and the water becomes more acidic. Some plankton will buck the trend, however, thriving and putting on weight as carbon dioxide levels rise.
Evidence in support of this hypothesis was gathered by Rodriguez and her colleagues when they simulated the increase in dissolved carbon dioxide in surface ocean waters by bubbling carbon dioxide through cultures of coccolithophores, a type of single-celled photosynthesising plankton.
In previous experiments, water acidity had been regulated by simply adding acid or base, but this method has been criticised for being too artificial.
Rodriguezs method found that higher carbon dioxide concentrations increased calcification, speeding up growth of the tiny calcite plates on the plankton cell.
Coccolithophores appear to benefit in two ways.
The extra carbon dioxide aids photosynthesis, while the more acidic waters increase the concentration of bicarbonate the main ingredient for coccolith plates, known as liths.
Making the liths results in the release of carbon dioxide, but when dead plankton fall to the ocean floor, the carbon in the shells is locked away in deep ocean chalk deposits.
Increased bicarbonate appears to stimulate an increase in mass of calcium carbonate produced by each coccolithophore cell, said Paul Halloran, a co-author from the University of Oxford.
The teams result is not confined to the lab.
By studying fossil coccolithophores from a deep ocean core, they found that there has been a 40% increase in average coccolith mass over the last 220 years, mirroring the rise in carbon dioxide levels.
Other scientists think the results make sense and help to explain how coccolithophores survived the last rapid global warming event the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum 56 million years ago.
Coccolithophores seemed to sail through the surface water acidification then, so perhaps they are quite insensitive to this kind of change, said Paul Bown from University College London. (ANI)
- 'Rising CO2 levels threaten aquatic food webs' - May 08, 2012
- Using Mother Nature's method to save oceans' marine life - Jan 20, 2011
- Earth can recover faster from CO2 emissions - Apr 22, 2011
- Earth will recover faster from global warming show prehistoric evidence - Apr 23, 2011
- Plankton shed light on Earth's ancient atmosphere - Feb 27, 2011
- How tiny creatures build their sea homes from material coming from the ocean above - Feb 12, 2010
- Ocean warming might hit microbes' carbon storage capacity - Feb 13, 2012
- Carbon emissions could wipeout marine species - Mar 03, 2012
- Fish lose ability to smell danger in acidic oceans - Jul 18, 2010
- Oysters could disappear in next 100 years due to 'acidic oceans' - Nov 07, 2010
- CO2 emission needs to be curbed to limit ocean acidification: Experts - Aug 21, 2010
- Earth witnessed extreme global warming around 40mn yrs ago - Nov 11, 2010
- Fish learn to cope with high CO2 in oceans - Jul 03, 2012
- CO2 negatively affecting environment of world's oceans - Feb 06, 2010
- Scientists can account for only half of global warming - Jul 15, 2009
Tags: acidic waters, bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, carbon dioxide concentrations, carbon dioxide levels, chalk deposits, deep ocean, halloran, main ingredient, new scientist, ocean floor, ocean waters, oceanography centre, plankton, putting on weight, surface ocean, university of oxford, university of southampton, university of southampton uk, water acidity