The vehicles emitting carbon dioxide on a daily

The Impact of Ocean
Acidification and Its Harmful Effects

The ocean absorbs
carbon dioxide on a daily basis, which has been occurring for millions of
years, when the carbon dioxide is absorbed by the sea water a chemical reaction
occurs which reduces the pH level and releases calcium carbonate ions and maintains
saturation levels which is important for the skeletons and shells of oceanic
organisms since the calcium ions released during the chemical process aid in
the proper development of their skeletons and shells which ensures proper
health, growth and survival from predators. However, since the industrial
revolution began the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere has
sky rocketed by the increased burning of fossil fuels, coal production,
factories and the ever growing amounts of vehicles emitting carbon dioxide on a
daily basis. This is then absorbed by the ocean and further reduces the ph
level further, this makes the seawater more acidic which in turn can have
catastrophic impacts on the ocean and its ecosystem and this occurrence can
often be regarded as dangerous as the impacts of climate change on the lives of
humans on a daily basis, such the ever increasing severity of storms, melting
of polar ice caps leading to rising of sea levels and the destruction of land
and habitats.

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   Various tests were carried to test the impacts
of varying carbon dioxide absorption levels to determine the impacts on living
organisms in the ocean one such  material
samples  various concentrations of carbon
dioxide were placed into various containers, in the containers were sea urchins
and shells of mollusks(DiscoverMagazine,2008), during the testing of this method
the effect on the various sea creatures were observed and recorded, a
comparison was then made by comparing the physical and chemical effect on the
organisms.

 

 

Another method that
geologist off the east coast of Britain carried out (Oceansiedu, 2014). They
studied the potential effects of acidification by digging into the earth’s
surface and recovering rocks and soil sample deep enough into the earth’s crust
that those recovered samples dated back to millions of years ago. The chemical
compositions and analysis of the rocks and soil samples were analyzed for the
concentration levels of carbon dioxide and then to determine calcium carbonate
formation rates, obtained from the samples to determine the severity of
increasing levels in contrast to present levels.

Also another method
that is used deep beneath the oceans there are carbon dioxide rich air bubble
vents on the sea floor and volcanos which were once active volcanos millions of
years ago, and have become dormant since. Scientist then compare the various
ocean creatures and plants that live nearby at various parts of the ocean floor
where such activity exists and determine the concentration of carbon dioxide
present, and the population and density of the organisms in the specific areas.

Scientists are also
carrying out a large scale field experiment (Oceansiedu, 2014) which is being
carried out by the  Biological Impacts of
Ocean Acidification (BIOACID) involves scientists from five different European
countries setting up huge test tubes some sixty feet deep and can hold some
fifteen thousand gallons of water after this is placed various organisms then
gradually occupy the space such as plankton and other tiny sea organisms, after
a suitable amount has settled in the tubes are then sealed off and the various
concentrations of carbon dioxide are then added to test the effects on
organisms at a lower pH level making the water more acidic. This is a new
method of research and once results are promising this method can be carried
out throughout various parts of the world.

 

 

 

Although carbon
dioxide occurs naturally and is needed for plants to photosynthesis, and in certain
levels when carbon dioxide is the absorbed by the ocean the chemical reaction
produces calcium carbonate that is essential for proper skeletal and shell
formation, excess carbon dioxide can decrease the pH levels too drastic and
turn the sea water too acidic. Recent findings have shown the effects it has on
various sea creatures. A sea creature called pteropods, (Pmel.noaa.gov, Nov
2017). Is a tiny organism which are eaten by various organisms, whales and
fishes and form an important part of the food chain. Pteropods were placed in
varying pH and carbonate levels, the shells in lower pH levels were almost
fully dissolved over a forty-five-day period. This can significantly wipe out
the population of these creatures and also affecting the population of species
that rely on them as a food source.

Coral reefs form
their vast structure by using calcium carbonate, the vast reef structures also
provide homes for various sea life. Research has shown increase acidification
levels limit the growth of corals and at the same affects the growth of new
ones, this weakens the structure of existing corals and make it more prone to
predator destruction, while only a small fraction of corals can strive under
certain acidic conditions the continued acidification of the oceans can
potentially wipe out the majority of corals.

Research has also
shown ocean acidification can impact the cell of function of certain fishes
causing chemical and physical changes in their bodies that can lead to the
death of fishes. This can also have behavioral impacts on certain fishes making
them more prone to predators. This can have significant impacts on the
ecosystem and can also impact the fishing industry which might rely on that
particular fish species for consumption.

Studies have also
shown Ocean Acidification threaten sea urchins and muscles which dissolve their
shells and can lead to the death or possible extinction of their species.

A major contributor
to the increase rate of ocean acidification has occurred since the beginning of
the industrial revolution. The burning of fossils fuels emits a tremendous
amount of carbon dioxide on a daily basis around the world, this is unlikely to
stop anytime soon since the dependence on this type of fuel is needed for
everyday actions, such driving cars, buses, planes and transporting goods and
services 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 renewable
sources which will decrease the emission of carbon dioxide tremendously.
Modifying cars and vehicles to make them more fuel efficient, use an
alternative source of petrol such as biodiesel, using electric vehicles which
gives off no emissions and using traditional methods of transport such as
cycling which will reduce carbon foot print on a daily basis

Fertilizers from
large agricultural farms can also be a contributor to ocean acidification since
various compound from the fertilizer run off from the land into streams and
rivers and finally into oceans, this causes certain algae in the ocean to
multiply rapidly they compete for living space resulting in some dying out, the
decayed algae then release carbon dioxide in large amounts contributing to the
problem. This can be avoided by ensuring proper land management, but giving
crops just the right amount of fertilizer than is need and controlling drain
channels into controlled areas, so they can be properly stored and maintained.

Deforestation also
contributes, the forest trees act as a “carbon sink”, when carbon dioxide from
industries and from natural processes are released into the atmosphere the
trees absorb carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and releases oxygen as
bi-product in to the atmosphere. The cutting down of trees reduces the amount
of carbon dioxide being absorbed. This can be reduced by reducing the
deforestation practices, and practicing a sustainable forestry management approach
where just the mature trees are cut down and new trees are planted in a timely
manner to replace the older ones.

 Ocean acidification is becoming a serious
issue and has often been underestimated of how serious it is, the increases
levels of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere is causing lower pH
levels which is threatening ocean life. This can kill off population of various
species leading to their possible extinction this in term can wipe off another
population that may have depended on that organism as a source of food. It also
threatens the pristine nature of the ocean since the vibrant ecosystem that
exists keeping the ocean in check and maintaining a healthy system can be at
risk due to destruction of certain species. It can also have an impact on
humans that rely on the ocean as a source of food such as fish, where certain
fish species are prone to extinction and can threaten the fishing industry,
which provides jobs to millions of people all over the world. This can severely
threaten their lively hood. The levels of carbon dioxide being emitted into the
atmosphere needs to be decreased to save the ocean and its marine life, this
can be achieved by also educating the general public on the dangers of ocean
acidification and methods of reducing the impact of this occurrence. Featuring
seminars and demonstrations that show the actual impacts of this threat at
schools, fares and science exhibitions can also educate the general public
about the issue.