Ocean Acidification Effects

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Over 500 billion tons of CO2 have been emitted into the atmosphere in the last two centuries. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuels have mutated into horrendous, but common, problems like oil spills, air pollution, climate change, and global warming. Furthermore, unbeknownst to the majority of the world, another issue has emerged. The problem has been labeled as ocean acidification. Lying dormant for decades, only recent studies conducted by scientists have revealed this botheration in our oceans. The harmful consequences of ocean acidification have snuck past unnoticed far too long. Ocean acidification has been growing under our waters and now provides a whole host of problems.
The phenomenon known as ocean acidification
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Although small, zooplankton play a vital role in the ecosystems of the ocean. Foraminifera and pteropods make up the majority of zooplankton. Providing creatures ranging from whales to tiny krill with a meal, these zooplankton are a major food source throughout the sea. Also, zooplankton are critical to the carbon cycle, which helps regulate how carbon dioxide cycles through the ecosystem. If the ocean were to see a loss in zooplankton, it would send severe ripple effects throughout the entire food web and ecosystem. Unfortunately, as carbon dioxide continues to pollute the ocean, this is becoming an ever increasing reality. Research and experiments performed by scientists at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have shown how the zooplankton handle the stress caused by ocean acidification. Using seawater with the projected amount of CO2 for 2100, scientists placed these two miniscule organisms into this solution and watched the results. Within 45 days the shells of the creatures had liquefied. Critics of ocean acidification down play the situation by arguing that there is too much speculating involved, but already scientists have been seeing double the amount of dissolved zooplankton since the pre-industrial era. The number will continue to grow as we are on track to triple this amount by 2050. With significant loss of zooplankton, every animal that depends upon it will be put in jeopardy. This in turn leads to instability in the diet of an approximated one billion people who rely on seafood as their primary source of protein. (Marine Stewardship

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