Ocean Acidification: Causes and its effects on Marine Ecosystem

The Earth is a watery planet because about 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth's water. Our ocean acts like carbon sink that absorb about a quarter of carbon dioxide that human produces that causes changes in ocean basic chemistry. Here, we are giving brief note on the Ocean Acidification, Causes and its effects on Marine Ecosystem for general awareness.

What is Ocean Acidification?

Source: coastadapt.com.au

Ocean Acidification can be defined as the ongoing, consistent decrease in the pH of the Ocean water. When carbon dioxide dissolved in the Ocean water, it creates Carbonic (H2CO3) and increases the Hydrogen Ion (H+) concentration in the Ocean. The absorption of the Carbon dioxide by Ocean helps in mitigating the climatic effects of Carbon dioxide emissions, but at the same time it also has negatively impacted the pH value of Ocean water such as Calcifying animals.

Concept and importance of pH Scale

The lowering pH value of Ocean water has huge impact on the Marine ecosystem and food chains. The organism such as corals, echinoderms, crustaceans and molluscs will be severely affected because the lowering of pH makes the ocean under saturated with CaCO3, and the result is that rate of dissolution of calcareous material would increase. It also leads to the hypercapnia (CO2 induced acidification of body fluids) in the Ocean biota.

What causes Ocean Acidification?

The Ocean chemistry is changing continuously due to following reason which is given below:

1. The industrial revolution

2. High concentration of carbon dioxide

3. Burning of fossil fuels

4. Cement manufacturing

5. Changes of land use

What are Carbon Footprint and Carbon Offsetting?

6. Raising of carbon dioxide levels in the ocean

7. Raising of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

8. Chemical reactions causing high concentration of hydrogen ions

9. Decrease in carbonate ions

10. Loss of biodiversity

11. Production alterations of biogas

12. Lack of environmentally friendly laws and regulations

Effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems

1. It reduces the concentration of carbonate, which is important for building block in seawater.

2. Marine animals interact in complex food webs that may be disrupted by ocean acidification due to losses in key species that will have trouble creating calcium carbonate shells in acidified waters.

3. It has a huge impact on commercial fisheries, shellfisheries, aquaculture, recreational fisheries, Subsistence, traditional shellfisheries and fisheries, Tourism activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving.

Environment & Ecology: A Complete Study Material

The Ocean acidification has increased only after the industrialisation. Pre-Industrialisation pH value of the Ocean water was 8.179 which were coming down to 8.1074 which constituted 19% increase of H+ ions. Presently, the pH value of Ocean water is 8.069 and this corresponds to an increase of 28.8% in the H+ unions since the industrialization of the 18th century.


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