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Seagrass Could Mitigate Ocean Acidification Effects of Climate Change

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Seagrass meadows can play with a limited, localized function in relieving sea acidification in aquatic ecosystems. This information is based on new work directed by Carnegie’s David Koweek and Ken Caldeira.

Carbon dioxide can be absorbed into the sea where chemical reactions together with the seawater create carbonic acid, which can be corrosive to marine life, especially to organisms such as mussels and shellfish which build their own shells and exoskeletons from calcium carbonate.

Seagrasses provide an important source of shelter and food for marine creatures, help combat erosion of the sediments which form the ocean bed, also filter bacterial pathogens in the water. In addition they consume carbon dioxide as a portion of the day photosynthetic activity.

So, the group set out to examine the concept that carbon dioxide uptake by seagrass meadows can impede the pH of the sea water into their immediate environment and help fight the effects of acidification at the brief term.

“Neighborhood stakeholders, for example California’s shellfish business, wish to understand whether seagrass meadows might help to counteract sea acidification,” Koweek explained. “Our results imply that seagrass meadows over the California coast will probably offer only limited capability to assimilate sea acidification over extended intervals.”

Normally, the computer simulations predicted the seagrass meadows will turn the clock back ocean acidification a couple of decades, a little counter to the over 150 decades of acidification–a procedure that’s now occurring faster than with rising fossil fuel emissions.

But, there were little time windows in which their models reveal that seagrass meadows could supply much increased loading. These happened during periods when low tides happened during the day when photosynthesis happens. Koweek and Caldeira state these provide significant opportunities.

This degree of flowing could make an effect in aquaculture jobs or perhaps in organic shellfish communities in which marine organisms can align their calcification action together with the seagrass flowing periods.

“We have started to know that some marine creatures, like blue musselsare now able to alter the exact time of day where they do the majority of their calcification. In case other organisms can do exactly the same, then brief windows of ocean acidification flowing by seagrass meadows can bring significant benefits to those organisms which reside in these”, Koweek explained.

Koweek and Caldeira are all seated in their own optimism for alternatives to prevent ocean acidification across the globe.

“Obviously the only way to genuinely combat sea acidification is to quickly and permanently lower the pace at which we’re spewing carbon dioxide emissions to the skies,” Caldeira noted.

“Though our results imply that seagrass meadows along the California coast are unlikely to provide long-term loading to resist sea acidification, their enduring function as habitat for marine creatures, guards against sea degree rise and strands of biodiversity ought to be more than adequate motive to revive and restore those legendary ecosystems.”

[via eurekalert]

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