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Ocean acidification

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pH levels in the ocean are a delicate balance that affect all marine life, but arguable most affecting shellfish and coral reefs. Shellfish are particularly affected because the lowering pH levels makes their shells thinner and more brittle, allowing predators to catch and eat them easier.

Contributed by Sebastian Hunter

I recently did a research project about Ocean Acidification. I put mussel shells in jars of varying pH and recorded the mass before after they soaked for a month. Those shells that were in the current ocean pH did not change noticeably, but the shells that were in a pH that was projected to be the ocean pH in the near future lost mass. This is on a small scale and is just a small indicator of the trouble that is to come. The ocean acidification is caused by an increased amount of carbon dioxide in the air caused by increased industrialization. This increased acidification of the ocean can degrade coral reefs which destroys the habitat of many marine animals. This could hurt the fishing and tourism industries. Also coral reefs are used as natural break waters (decrease intense wave energy) and to develop different medicines.

Contributed by Tiffany Crawford

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