When the ocean absorbs #CO_2#, the pH of the ocean water rises. What's the effect of this process?

1 Answer
Jun 3, 2017

There are a number of detrimental impacts on the marine biome such as coral bleaching and the depletion of calcifying organisms.


As the ocean becomes more acidic the algae on coral reefs become 'stressed', thence the algae relocate to other coral reefs or die as the acidic pH is inhabitable. Subsequently, coral bleaching occurs- coral looses it's colour (due to the algae leaving leaving the coral). This impacts marine wildlife as coral is a source of protection and habitat. Similarly, coral reefs help regulate the marine biome, so without them the whole ecosystem is affected.

Additionally, more acidic conditions causes calcifying organisms like the sea butterfly to have their calcium shells dissolve. The number of sea butterflies in the ocean are dramatically decreasing this impacts the whole marine food chain as the sea butterflies are eaten by many consumers as they are near the bottom of the food chain.