CO2 Emissions Play Havoc with Ocean Life
The devastating impact of global warming on ocean life has been laid bare in a shocking new scientific report.
Coral reefs across the globe are being killed off by a combination of increasing temperatures and ocean acidification caused by rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.
Researchers found blooms of algae are blanketing the seabed in areas of high CO2 concentration, choking corals and lowering marine diversity.
If CO2 levels continue to rise at their current rate, the consequences will be ‘catastrophic’, scientists have warned.
Teams of British, Italian and Japanese researchers, including from the University of Plymouth, found a worrying lack of corals in areas of the Pacific where CO2 levels met present-day averages.
In contrast, marine areas with pre-industrial levels of CO2 flourished with corals and other species and sea-life.
Experts discovered the stark contrast by analysing volcanic CO2 seeps off Shikine Island, in Japan, where ocean currents cause CO2 levels to mimic those before the industrial revolution.
In areas with pre-Industrial levels of CO2 the coast has an impressive amount of calcified organisms such as corals and oysters.
But in areas with present-day average levels of surface seawater CO2 they found far fewer corals and other calcified life, and so there was less biodiversity.
It shows the extensive damage caused by humans due to CO2 emissions over the past 300 years and unless we can get a grip on reducing CO2 emissions we will undoubtedly see major degradation of coastal systems worldwide.
Proliferation of algae in areas with high CO2: