May 28, 2009
Rising CO2 levels threaten shellfish
U.S. marine scientists say they have discovered that rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are threatening shellfish populations in many ecosystems.
The researchers, led by ecologist Whitman Miller of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, said the increasing CO2 levels are contributing to the acidification of open ocean, coastal and estuarine waters.
Estuarine and coastal ecosystems may be especially vulnerable to changes in water chemistry caused by elevated CO2 because their relative shallowness, reduced salinity and lower alkalinity makes them inherently less buffered to changes in pH than in the open ocean, Miller said.
The study appears in the online journal PLoS One.