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      Status of the world's baleen whales

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      Marine Mammal Science

      Wiley-Blackwell

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          Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms.

          Today's surface ocean is saturated with respect to calcium carbonate, but increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are reducing ocean pH and carbonate ion concentrations, and thus the level of calcium carbonate saturation. Experimental evidence suggests that if these trends continue, key marine organisms--such as corals and some plankton--will have difficulty maintaining their external calcium carbonate skeletons. Here we use 13 models of the ocean-carbon cycle to assess calcium carbonate saturation under the IS92a 'business-as-usual' scenario for future emissions of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. In our projections, Southern Ocean surface waters will begin to become undersaturated with respect to aragonite, a metastable form of calcium carbonate, by the year 2050. By 2100, this undersaturation could extend throughout the entire Southern Ocean and into the subarctic Pacific Ocean. When live pteropods were exposed to our predicted level of undersaturation during a two-day shipboard experiment, their aragonite shells showed notable dissolution. Our findings indicate that conditions detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously.
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            Ocean acidification: the other CO2 problem.

            Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), primarily from human fossil fuel combustion, reduces ocean pH and causes wholesale shifts in seawater carbonate chemistry. The process of ocean acidification is well documented in field data, and the rate will accelerate over this century unless future CO2 emissions are curbed dramatically. Acidification alters seawater chemical speciation and biogeochemical cycles of many elements and compounds. One well-known effect is the lowering of calcium carbonate saturation states, which impacts shell-forming marine organisms from plankton to benthic molluscs, echinoderms, and corals. Many calcifying species exhibit reduced calcification and growth rates in laboratory experiments under high-CO2 conditions. Ocean acidification also causes an increase in carbon fixation rates in some photosynthetic organisms (both calcifying and noncalcifying). The potential for marine organisms to adapt to increasing CO2 and broader implications for ocean ecosystems are not well known; both are high priorities for future research. Although ocean pH has varied in the geological past, paleo-events may be only imperfect analogs to current conditions.
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              Impacts of ocean acidification on marine fauna and ecosystem processes

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Marine Mammal Science
                Mar Mam Sci
                Wiley-Blackwell
                08240469
                April 2016
                April 2016
                : 32
                : 2
                : 682-734
                Article
                10.1111/mms.12281
                © 2016

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/mms.12281

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