In March, 2012, one of the world’s leading journals “Science” published a paper on geological record of ocean acidification by Dr. Daniela Schmidt, a geologist from University of Bristol, and her team.
This week, at a conference held in Monterey, California, on “The Ocean in a High-CO2 World”, Dr. Schmidt put emphasis on the fact that for a first time in 300 million years, the rate of ocean acidification is raising at an extraordinary speed.
Although acidification of the oceans has occurred before, largely affecting marine ecosystems, the closest event has taken place around 55 million years ago at a 10 times slower rate. Referring to geological records, clear patterns in species response to oceans acidification can be observed.
According to Dr. Schmidt, loss of nutrients and oxygen, as well as changes in temperature cause anomalies in species growth and composition, which leads to species extinction in some extreme cases. Considering that present rates of acidification have not been observed before, the influence that this process might have on the ecosystems as well as their response to it cannot be predicted.
This topic attracted the attention of another leading team of scientist in the field of Oceanography. Dr. Claudine Hauri from University of Alaska Fairbanks expressed her concern about the water around the coast of the conference site in Monterey Bay.
She pointed out that due to rapid changes in chemical composition of these waters, ocean creatures have to adapt to unknown conditions, which most likely will be completely different 20 years from now.