The Impact of OceanAcidification and Its Harmful EffectsThe ocean absorbscarbon dioxide on a daily basis, which has been occurring for millions ofyears, when the carbon dioxide is absorbed by the sea water a chemical reactionoccurs which reduces the pH level and releases calcium carbonate ions and maintainssaturation levels which is important for the skeletons and shells of oceanicorganisms since the calcium ions released during the chemical process aid inthe proper development of their skeletons and shells which ensures properhealth, growth and survival from predators. However, since the industrialrevolution began the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere hassky rocketed by the increased burning of fossil fuels, coal production,factories and the ever growing amounts of vehicles emitting carbon dioxide on adaily basis. This is then absorbed by the ocean and further reduces the phlevel further, this makes the seawater more acidic which in turn can havecatastrophic impacts on the ocean and its ecosystem and this occurrence canoften be regarded as dangerous as the impacts of climate change on the lives ofhumans on a daily basis, such the ever increasing severity of storms, meltingof polar ice caps leading to rising of sea levels and the destruction of landand habitats. Various tests were carried to test the impactsof varying carbon dioxide absorption levels to determine the impacts on livingorganisms in the ocean one such materialsamples various concentrations of carbondioxide were placed into various containers, in the containers were sea urchinsand shells of mollusks(DiscoverMagazine,2008), during the testing of this methodthe effect on the various sea creatures were observed and recorded, acomparison was then made by comparing the physical and chemical effect on theorganisms. Another method thatgeologist off the east coast of Britain carried out (Oceansiedu, 2014). Theystudied the potential effects of acidification by digging into the earth’ssurface and recovering rocks and soil sample deep enough into the earth’s crustthat those recovered samples dated back to millions of years ago. The chemicalcompositions and analysis of the rocks and soil samples were analyzed for theconcentration levels of carbon dioxide and then to determine calcium carbonateformation rates, obtained from the samples to determine the severity ofincreasing levels in contrast to present levels.
Also another methodthat is used deep beneath the oceans there are carbon dioxide rich air bubblevents on the sea floor and volcanos which were once active volcanos millions ofyears ago, and have become dormant since. Scientist then compare the variousocean creatures and plants that live nearby at various parts of the ocean floorwhere such activity exists and determine the concentration of carbon dioxidepresent, and the population and density of the organisms in the specific areas.Scientists are alsocarrying out a large scale field experiment (Oceansiedu, 2014) which is beingcarried out by the Biological Impacts ofOcean Acidification (BIOACID) involves scientists from five different Europeancountries setting up huge test tubes some sixty feet deep and can hold somefifteen thousand gallons of water after this is placed various organisms thengradually occupy the space such as plankton and other tiny sea organisms, aftera suitable amount has settled in the tubes are then sealed off and the variousconcentrations of carbon dioxide are then added to test the effects onorganisms at a lower pH level making the water more acidic. This is a newmethod of research and once results are promising this method can be carriedout throughout various parts of the world.
Although carbondioxide occurs naturally and is needed for plants to photosynthesis, and in certainlevels when carbon dioxide is the absorbed by the ocean the chemical reactionproduces calcium carbonate that is essential for proper skeletal and shellformation, excess carbon dioxide can decrease the pH levels too drastic andturn the sea water too acidic. Recent findings have shown the effects it has onvarious sea creatures. A sea creature called pteropods, (Pmel.
noaa.gov, Nov2017). Is a tiny organism which are eaten by various organisms, whales andfishes and form an important part of the food chain. Pteropods were placed invarying pH and carbonate levels, the shells in lower pH levels were almostfully dissolved over a forty-five-day period.
This can significantly wipe outthe population of these creatures and also affecting the population of speciesthat rely on them as a food source.Coral reefs formtheir vast structure by using calcium carbonate, the vast reef structures alsoprovide homes for various sea life. Research has shown increase acidificationlevels limit the growth of corals and at the same affects the growth of newones, this weakens the structure of existing corals and make it more prone topredator destruction, while only a small fraction of corals can strive undercertain acidic conditions the continued acidification of the oceans canpotentially wipe out the majority of corals.Research has alsoshown ocean acidification can impact the cell of function of certain fishescausing chemical and physical changes in their bodies that can lead to thedeath of fishes. This can also have behavioral impacts on certain fishes makingthem more prone to predators. This can have significant impacts on theecosystem and can also impact the fishing industry which might rely on thatparticular fish species for consumption.
Studies have alsoshown Ocean Acidification threaten sea urchins and muscles which dissolve theirshells and can lead to the death or possible extinction of their species. A major contributorto the increase rate of ocean acidification has occurred since the beginning ofthe industrial revolution. The burning of fossils fuels emits a tremendousamount of carbon dioxide on a daily basis around the world, this is unlikely tostop anytime soon since the dependence on this type of fuel is needed foreveryday actions, such driving cars, buses, planes and transporting goods andservices to people.
This is a reliable source of fuel and is readily available.One way to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide is to move towards renewablesources which will decrease the emission of carbon dioxide tremendously.Modifying cars and vehicles to make them more fuel efficient, use analternative source of petrol such as biodiesel, using electric vehicles whichgives off no emissions and using traditional methods of transport such ascycling which will reduce carbon foot print on a daily basisFertilizers fromlarge agricultural farms can also be a contributor to ocean acidification sincevarious compound from the fertilizer run off from the land into streams andrivers and finally into oceans, this causes certain algae in the ocean tomultiply rapidly they compete for living space resulting in some dying out, thedecayed algae then release carbon dioxide in large amounts contributing to theproblem. This can be avoided by ensuring proper land management, but givingcrops just the right amount of fertilizer than is need and controlling drainchannels into controlled areas, so they can be properly stored and maintained.Deforestation alsocontributes, the forest trees act as a “carbon sink”, when carbon dioxide fromindustries and from natural processes are released into the atmosphere thetrees absorb carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and releases oxygen asbi-product in to the atmosphere.
The cutting down of trees reduces the amountof carbon dioxide being absorbed. This can be reduced by reducing thedeforestation practices, and practicing a sustainable forestry management approachwhere just the mature trees are cut down and new trees are planted in a timelymanner to replace the older ones. Ocean acidification is becoming a seriousissue and has often been underestimated of how serious it is, the increaseslevels of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere is causing lower pHlevels which is threatening ocean life. This can kill off population of variousspecies leading to their possible extinction this in term can wipe off anotherpopulation that may have depended on that organism as a source of food. It alsothreatens the pristine nature of the ocean since the vibrant ecosystem thatexists keeping the ocean in check and maintaining a healthy system can be atrisk due to destruction of certain species.
It can also have an impact onhumans that rely on the ocean as a source of food such as fish, where certainfish species are prone to extinction and can threaten the fishing industry,which provides jobs to millions of people all over the world. This can severelythreaten their lively hood. The levels of carbon dioxide being emitted into theatmosphere needs to be decreased to save the ocean and its marine life, thiscan be achieved by also educating the general public on the dangers of oceanacidification and methods of reducing the impact of this occurrence. Featuringseminars and demonstrations that show the actual impacts of this threat atschools, fares and science exhibitions can also educate the general publicabout the issue.